What You Said About Intermarriage
Our readers on the new Reform proposals
A post from yesterday on the Reform Movement’s decision to move from discouraging intermarriage to encouraging the intermarried to cultivate Jewish homes—as commenter Carl Rosen put it on Facebook, the movement is “accepting the intermarried more than intermarriage”—drew a whole bunch of responses, both on Facebook and, especially, on The Scroll itself.
Those who applauded the Central Conference of American Rabbis task force, which among other things suggested establishing special blessings for interfaith weddings, clearly outnumbered those who condemned it. “Ketzirah” wrote: “As a Jewish woman in an interfaith marriage, I think it’s about damn time. I’ve become more religious since I met my husband and it’s because of his encouragement that I’ve deepened my own faith and practice.” “Laura Baum” agreed: “As a rabbi ordained by the Reform movement, I am thrilled that the movement is now focusing on blessing interfaith relationships. … It is time to stop thinking of intermarriage as only a challenge—it is also a reality and an opportunity.” And Jeremiah says,
It’s about time. How many Jews have been “lost” because they were discouraged from marrying the person they loved, not to mention their children? Every non-Jew is a potential Jew, and non-Jewish spouses who don’t convert are often more involved in synagogue and Jewish life than their Jewish partners. They should have been welcomed long ago.
Of course, there are also plenty who see it differently. Said “Unphased”: “Religion was never designed to be sensitive and welcoming to all without restrictions. … if so it would be nothing more than a chess club where a scarf talis is the team uniform.” And “savtaro” argued: “This is all just too pathetic! What remnants of Judaism will remain? No kippot. No kashrut. No kinship! The Reform will consistently prostitute themselves to stay in business. It’s time for them to admit that they are bankrupt and close the shop.”
There was also some fruitful discussion about how the dynamic is altered depending on which spouse is the non-Jew: the husband, in which case any children are still halakhically Jewish; or the wife, in which case they are not.
And maybe the most quietly profound comment came from “D”:
One can feel the assimilationist rejoice at the expense of tradition rabbinic Judaism. This issue is not that we have come to this point in the discussion, the issue is do we recognize what has been lost. Perhaps an understanding of the directive “maintain Jewish homes” is required.
This is likely a very good thing for our future, but I am sad for our loss.
Meanwhile, I want to thank and applaud everyone for keeping things civil. And I want to encourage further commenting, wherever you see fit—including on Facebook! (If you’re not currently a fan of ours on Facebook, please join up!)
Sheikh Jarrah shows that right-of-return goes both ways