This post is part of series that takes a deeper look at some of the findings from our Millennial Children of Intermarriage report. The first installment looks at the relationship of children of intermarriage to their grandparents. We found that the relationship to Jewish grandparents can be extremely important for a child’s later Jewish identity.
Background: Our study draws on a sample of approximately 2,7000 respondents and in-depth interviews with 27 children of intermarriage in four cities. We compared children of intermarriage and children of inmarriage to identify which experiences and relationships are most likely to result in robust Jewish attitudes and practices in adulthood. The central finding of the study was that participation during college in Birthright Israel, campus groups such as Hillel and Chabad, and/or taking courses focusing on Jewish topics was life-changing in terms of respondents’ Jewish engagement. At the same time, participation in Jewish life during college was related to childhood experiences. As part of the study, survey respondents were asked open-ended questions about who had the greatest influence on their religious identities when they were growing up, and in what ways. About one-fifth of children of inmarriage and intermarriage mentioned grandparents as an important adult influence. We decided to look into this relationship further.