“Instead of, ‘I’ll go to the game with my boyfriend if I want to see him this week,’ it would be, ‘Well, he’ll come to services with me,’” she explained.“The ability to be accepting [of non-Jewish boyfriends and girlfriends] actually helped them to grow in their Jewish lives.” With intermarriage increasingly accepted among all but the most traditional American Jews, and growing numbers of young Jews themselves products of intermarriage, interdating is seen less and less as an act of rebellion or of alienation from Jewish life.
The change affects the 100 or so teen officers who serve on USY’s national board and 17 regional boards.
The thousands of teens who participate in USY programs have not been subject to any such bans.
Today even many day school grads and other Jews active in the Jewish community seem to see no conflict between their passion for Judaism and their romantic relationships with gentiles.
A 2002 study of young Jews who had attended the Conservative movement’s Camp Ramah indicated that only 30 percent dated Jews exclusively, while 36 percent reported they “prefer Jews but also date non-Jews.” And this was almost a decade ago, back when the Conservative movement was far less accepting of intermarriage, and far more vocal in seeking to discourage intermarriage, than it is now.
After some debate at the convention, the USY board also elected not to adopt a controversial proposal to alter requirements that teen board members be Sabbath and holiday observant when it comes to travel, public functions and taking school exams.