"Socioeconomically, the groups were identical, even a few years down the line," he says.

So while the actual God may be different, the role of that God may provide a similar structure for both Jews and Catholics, says Crohn.

“I would be interested how to see how many Jews who intermarry with Catholics attend synagogue,” says Crohn.

“For some couples, it is that religiosity that some people see as a conflict, but it often it is a bridge.” Traditional proximity between Jews and Catholics is a result of parallel immigration patterns, explains Rabbi Blecher.

A majority of the Jews--as well as a good number of the Catholics--in the United States are descendants of European immigrants who came to the United States in the early part of the 20th Century.

April, 2008 A recent landmark study of Americans' religious behavior confirmed what many observers of intermarriage have often suggested, but never proven: when Jews intermarry, they disproportionately marry Catholics. "This is something that everyone has known for years," says Rabbi Arthur Blecher, who noted the trend in last year's The New American Judaism: The Way Forward on Challenging Issues from Intermarriage to Jewish Identity. "Jews are concentrated in the Northeast, and so are Catholics," he says. I can't say that the Jews have any special affection for people who are Catholic." Melissa and Karl Simon of Reston, Va., are a case in point. Even with different religious backgrounds, "I think our families had the same values," says Melissa Simon.

Religion Landscape Survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 39% of intermarried Jews are married to Catholics, even though Protestants outnumber Catholics in the U. Overall, slightly less than a third of all married Jews are intermarried. It is not as though the Jews are saying 'Gee, I would like to marry a Catholic…'" While no one has formally studied the question, sociologist Steven Cohen, a professor at New York's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, boils the phenomenon down to one word: geography. Only 23% of intermarried Jews are married to Protestants.Melissa, who is Jewish, and Karl, who is Catholic, met more than 20 years ago, when they lived near one another during high school near Providence, R. Since every family has its own traditions, structure and quirks, it is hard to say what similarities certain couples find in their backgrounds, says psychologist Joel Crohn, author of the book Mixed Matches However, in many cases, Jewish families and Catholic families have an emphasis on religious rituals such as attending services, hosting holiday dinners and saying prayers."It takes more than a few generations to change patterns, whether it is voting or marriage," he says.What has changed through the generations, though, is the general acceptance of interfaith marriage in most families, says Rabbi Blecher."Fewer people want to alienate their children over intermarriage." Some of the same challenges remain, however.