On Saturday, Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is to marry Marc Mezvinsky, an investment banker, at a ceremony in Rhinebeck, N.Y., according to press reports. The couple's wedding will represent an interfaith union between Chelsea Clinton, who was raised a Methodist, and Mezvinsky, who was raised a Jew. As a religious and/or spiritual leader or commentator in the community, what advice would you give to young people on how to make marriage work with spouses or prospective spouses who practice other religions, or even those who are non-believers?
Intermarriage constitutes the greatest single threat to Jewish continuity. Yes, anecdotal evidence attests to successful transmission of Judaism where one spouse is not Jewish, but it generally requires two Jewish parents, living a commonly cherished way of life, to accomplish this task. The resolute expression of a single belief system, world view, and sacred practice bequeaths a vibrant Jewish identity. The possibility that Jewish children and grandchildren will arise is severely compromised when one of the partners is not ultimately committed to Judaism. Intermarriage does not preclude Jewish commitment, but when one partner wears the uniform, while the other remains a spectator, a unified message cannot be expressed.