According to studies cited in Fishman's monograph, American Jewish girls are more likely than boys to receive a Jewish education, especially after their bar or bat mitzvah.They are also more likely to join Jewish youth groups, participate in college Hillel activities, take Jewish studies classes, describe themselves as affiliated with a wing of Judaism, attend weekly worship services, partake in adult Jewish education, visit Israel, attend secular Jewish events and engage in volunteer Jewish leadership.
This three-year gap, which is much smaller for men, is statistically significant, she says, and reflects women's initial desire to marry a Jew.
The intermarriage comes about, she and other sociologists explain, after a woman gives up on finding a Jewish husband and decides to marry a gentile rather than stay single.
"It's important for a married couple to have those common values and a similar heritage." Yet Jacqueline has had a hard time finding a suitable Jewish mate.
"My friends and I talk about it all the time," she says. You have fantastic women who are beautiful, intelligent, warm, great to be around, who have senses of humor and want to be wives and mothers, to be part of a couple - and we are not able to do that because the men are not in the same place." Jacqueline and Daniel are both indicative of a phenomenon well-known among Jewish communal leaders and dating experts.
Maintaining Ties Fishman and Parmer found that, in interviews, "Jewish women who married non-Jewish men overwhelmingly say that their original preference was to marry a Jewish man, but that with the passage of time other factors gained consideration.
"I never got that narrative from a guy," Fishman says.
"I feel there is a much bigger division between those who are observant of any religion [and] those who are non-observant than there is between religions." He would therefore rather that his children be "unobservant Christians" than very religious Jews.
Now meet "Jacqueline" (who wished to remain anonymous): she is 32, also grew up in a Conservative home, lives in New York City and works in the non-profit sector.
Jewish women, particularly Orthodox ones, are even more likely than non-Jewish women to be caught in the "age squeeze," the phenomenon of women in their 20's who think they have plenty of time to get married, only to discover in their 30's that men their age prefer to date younger women.