T he daughter of President Bill Clinton married a Jew. The daughter of President John F. Kennedy married a Jew. Governor Cuomo of New York has two sisters who married Jews. Is this, as they say, good for the Jews?

Some Jews are quite pleased by this. They see it as a sign of the acceptance of Jews into the American mainstream. We are part of normal society, and we can mingle freely with non-Jews, can join their exclusive country clubs, move into their restricted enclaves. Do I hear an echo of what Hamor the Hivvite said to Yaakov’s sons in Bereishis 34:9–10 after the abduction of their sister Dinah? “Make marriages with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters to you. You shall dwell among us, settle and trade in the land before you….”

The sons of Yaakov forcefully rejected this seductive offer, but 2,500 years later some modern sons of Yaakov, having abandoned Jewish learning and practice, consider any acceptance by the non-Jewish society to be the ultimate joy, the consummation devoutly to be wished. That the essence of Judaism is to be unique and different from the world around us is foreign to such Jews. They never learned that what preserved the character of the Jews enslaved in Egypt, according to the Sages, was that they did not change their distinctive dress or their distinctive language.

Other Jews, in a garbled idealism, go even farther than this. To them, acceptance by non-Jews is a welcome step toward the ultimate goal of the universalization of mankind. No more shall humankind be divided into separate nations and races. Judaism, for them, has served its purpose in history, and must now give way to the next step — universalism, in which all mankind is united as one.

Universalism, for these myopic idealists, is the ultimate vision of the great prophets of Israel such as Zechariah (14:9), “bayom ha-hu… — on that day G-d will be One and His name One”; or Isaiah (56:7), “ki beisi … — for My house shall be a house of prayer for all the nations.” This is of course a distortion of the prophecy in which mankind will be united as one because they will have accepted the G-d and the Torah of Israel.

Some, less serious, see in this phenomenon an oblique compliment: Jewish men are considered desirable husbands. By and large Jewish men don’t drink, don’t beat their wives, are faithful. But we can do without such compliments. They might make the best husbands; they don’t necessarily make the best Jews. And the more Jews integrate and assimilate into the larger world, the less will their distinctive Jewish character be dominant.

But enough of outlier views of Judaism. Is an Orthodox Jew thrilled that children of famous people choose to marry Jews? Obviously not. Rather, he sees this as another indication of rampant Jewish intermarriage in America, which is an astounding 70-percent-plus. Should this trend continue, the only Jews left in the United States in another 30 years will be Orthodox Jews, for the Reform and the Conservatives will have immolated themselves. (That the ideologically bankupt non-Orthodox movements now attempt to gain a foothold in Israel is risible, but fortunately the Israel public is not buying.)

The ascendancy of the Orthodox, in global terms, is not a cause for joy. It will mean that several million Jews have disappeared forever in a self-inflicted spiritual holocaust. And in practical terms, Jewish influence in America will be seriously diminished. Why, for example, would an elected representative be concerned about anti-Semitism or about Israel when there are no Jews in his district?

That some Jewish men are marrying into a kind of royalty does not impress me. We are already part of a higher royalty. We are called bnei melachim, the children of kings, and were chosen long ago by the King of Kings for higher things.

Do we contribute to society? Yes. Do we support and encourage the finer, nobler, and more spiritual aspects of the cultures around us? Yes. Do we therefore assimilate and become an integral part of the culture around us? Most definitely no. As an am kadosh, a holy people, we walk the narrow ridge between contributing to society while strictly maintaining our separate heritage and distinctiveness.

The late Irving Kristol once quipped: “The real threat to the Jewish future is not that Christians want to persecute them, but that Christians want to marry them.” We welcome the new tolerance, but we worry about the new proposals. (Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 664)