The European Centre for Jewish Students (ECJS) said on Thursday it was alarmed over the results of new research showing a rise in the rate of intermarriage among European students.
According to a report in the European Jewish Press, the study found that there has been a rise of 17% in the rate of intermarriage in Europe. The annual research was conducted among a representative sample of Jewish communities and student organizations in Europe, ahead of “Shabbat Like a Jew”, an event which will gather several hundreds of students from across Europe in Athens, Greece, next weekend.
“The results of the 2011 study among students are really frightening,” Zeevi Ives, Director of ECJS, told EJP.
Tomer Orni, CEO of the European Jewish Union, added that the rising assimilation rates are “a troubling phenomenon. There is still much more to be done. The good news is that there are more engagement opportunities now for Jewish students across Europe who wish to get involved. Although the level of intermarriage is still much too high in our view, we see a change for the better because the rise this year is lower when compared to recent years.”
He added that EJU “started various educational projects in Europe about a year ago and their results will definitely be seen the next time that the level of intermarriage on the continent is assessed.”
ECJS said that there are some 200,000 Jews aged 18-30 in Europe, the age at which this group of young people forms relationships.
Ives said the goal is to reach as many of them as possible “in order to reinforce their Jewish identity and continue the chain of the generations of the Jewish nation.”