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Conservatives Alter Approach to Intermarriage

From conversion to ‘openness’

by
Marc Tracy
November 23, 2010

Sue Fishkoff reports that the Conservative movement in America, while strictly maintaining its concrete rules against intermarriage—most rabbis won’t officiate interfaith weddings, for example—are switching tack from opposing intermarriage in every conceivable way to accepting it as part of a larger effort to bring both members of such couples closer to Judaism. It appears the shift is somewhat the result of a ground-up agitation, with Men’s Clubs, which tend to favor openness, winning over the institutional establishment, which is inclined to insist on conversion.

Like other Conservative rabbis, [Rabbi Carl Wolkin of Northbrook, Illinois,] will not officiate at an interfaith wedding, but he wants the couple to know they are wanted in the congregation as they explore their Jewish future. That message has been blurred too often in the Conservative world, which hurts the movement, he says.

If that seems like no news to you, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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