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She recently assumed a new pulpit at Congregation Shir Hadash in Milwaukee.Sweeney, the grandson of two evangelical Protestant pastors, attended Wheaton College, the conservative Christian school that counts Billy Graham among its alumni.After returning from the Philippines, Sweeney began occasional visits to Gethsemani, Thomas Merton’s famous Trappist monastery in Kentucky.Briefly, he thought about becoming a Catholic monk, then dropped the idea.And I always imagine, as a Jew, that Roman Catholics have it easy.At least they have a fixed star, in the pope and the Vatican, to ground their arguments and measure the depths of their dissent. Let’s say you are committed to marrying within the faith, and at some point, against what feel like impossible odds, given our tiny numbers, you find a fellow Jew whom you wish to marry. One of you never wants to go to synagogue, while the other would never miss it on Rosh Hashana.

In the United States, most Jews and Catholics trace their ancestry to working-class Europeans who arrived in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, seeking economic opportunity above all.But underneath those statistics are plenty of people who care deeply about their particular traditions.Extrapolating from the Pew statistics on Jewish intermarriage (over 70 percent among the non-Orthodox) and overall Jewish population in the United States (about 5.3 million, if one includes nonreligious, ethnic Jews), there are tens of thousands of Jewish-Catholic intermarriages in the United States.Consider how some of these relate to the subject of dating.stated that “three qualitative studies of long-term marriages have indicated that similarity in religious orientation, religious faith, and religious beliefs are key factors in long-term marriages (25-Dating includes any social activity in which two people focus romantic interest on each other.It can take place in a group or in private, in the open or in secret, and in person, over the phone, or by text message.

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