Hey JFools, I was talking about this with a friend tonight and we hit a mindbomb. I am fairly passionate about the subject so bear with me...Jews are intermarrying, it is well known. I have a problem with this, in the same way I have problems with the general lack of Jewish education and identity. But it is a reality, and ultimately each person must live their lives and make their choices. We were in agreement on this.What bothers me is when "rabbis" will officiate or co-officiate interfaith marriages. How can one sanction and sanctify that which strikes at the very heart of Jewish survival and continuity, and yet call yourself a "rabbi"? Why be a self-styled upholder of Judaism while engaging in something which is slowly destroying the community. Perhaps I'm coming at this from a wrong angle, but does anyone out there think it is appropriate for a rabbi to perform intermarriages?Looking forward to the discussion.Silencer
This is not along the lines you're asking, but personally I'm divided. As an atheist, I could care less about intermarriage. I am, however, pressed to admit that I'm more a little proud of being, at least as far as I can trace, a pureblooded Jew. I'm not going to have children anyway but if I were I would probably be more likely to seek out another Jew to father them.6
It's a good point, but not well taken by many especially in the Diaspora. Many's the time that governments in Israel, have raised the question of "who is a Jew" only to be shouted down by those who feel that an Orthodox Rabbi is a thing of the past.Even WOMEN have began to take on the role of a Rabbi and many many new groups of Reform Jews have sprung up.There are onlt two ways to be a Jew,1. By birth if your mother is Jewish2. By proper conversion through an Orthodox Rabbi recognised by the House of Laws (Beth Din in Hebrew).The other problem is that many Jews are having second thoughts about the strict religeous Laws surrounding Judiasm and those Jews are themselves leaving the fold for less stricter Jewish communities. Hence the so called other Rabbis that have now sprung up.You can be a Jew who doesn't exactly keep the commandments, then, your problem is only between you and the Almighty. But trying to change the Laws to suit onesself is in my humble opinion a complete NO NOCorse
What bothers me is when "rabbis" will officiate or co-officiate interfaith marriages. How can one sanction and sanctify that which strikes at the very heart of Jewish survival and continuity, and yet call yourself a "rabbi"? Why be a self-styled upholder of Judaism while engaging in something which is slowly destroying the community. Perhaps I'm coming at this from a wrong angle, but does anyone out there think it is appropriate for a rabbi to perform intermarriages?I think it appropriate for a rabbi to perform intermarriages in certain circumstances. In fact, I think the way this issue is treated is detrimental to the growth of the community. Non-Jewish spouses of Jews are the best candidates for conversion; they hold the religious choice of the next generation in their hands. If a couple is going to marry anyhow (and although the answer may vary in the specific, intermarriage is not going to stop happening any time soon), what response is more likely to bring the couple to a Jewish life? Inclusion? or rejection? Thus on a pragmatic basis - if the goal is to promote the survival of Judaism - it may make more sense for a rabbi to perform intermarriages, if that is in accordance with his or her conscience.- mapletree, adores female rabbis and is a converted non-Orthodox Jew.
I do not. I'm sure some do and may even argue that rabbinic support of intermarriage is inclusionary, but I think the truth is that it is just about being afraid to ask tough questions and take stances on a personal level. The statistics show that the vast majority of children who come from "mixed" marriages do not marry Jews, observe Jewish traditions or think of themselves as Jewish as adults. The point is that while a few spouses may convert later, apparently most do not. If Rabbi's were not afraid of looking exclusionary or if they weren't contacted by the bride/groom after the engagement, they might walk away from more weddings. However, what does a Rabbi do if one of the machers from the synagogue/temple says, "Look my son/daughter want's to marry this non-Jew, please officiate"? The Rabbi can say no and maybe the wedding is off - I doubt it. Maybe the family leaves or the Rabbi's contract isn't renewed or maybe they just find a Rabbi one who will do the wedding - because there is always some one who will do it. In Chicago, there is a mohel who I think would do brit melah for the son of two non-Jews if there were a Jewish grandfather who said, "So what time is the bris". The same is true I'm sure for marriages. I agree that I don't understand, how given the known outcome, they can be so willing to contribute. One key issue is that the Reform movement believe Jewish children are the children of A Jewish parent. There are NO orthodox Rabbis who would perform such a wedding. Conservative rabbis are advised against it and many will not. How is it possible to "raise the children Jewish", the phrase I hear all too often, in a home where one parent isn't Jewish. If the non-Jew wants to be part of a Jewish home – convert and do it before the wedding. Anything less is just lip service. The proof is when these Jewish kids come to your house for a Passover seder and ask, “Want to see what the Easter bunny brought me?” or when a family wants to have a Hanukkah party three days before Hanukkah so they can get to Florida for X-mas. It is especially difficult of course when it's the woman who is the non-Jew. Because at that point any children are not Jewish by long standing tradition – regardless of the approach the Reform movement wants to take. This issue is so important, that at my children's school they ask, point blank, on the application: father/mother's Hebrew name, and then conversion date & Beit Din if either is a convertSandy
This issue is so important, that at my children's school they ask, point blank, on the application: father/mother's Hebrew name, and then conversion date & Beit Din if either is a convertWhy? So they can exclude children who don't meet their standards? Yeah, that'll increase the population of practicing Jews.-mapletree
Why? So they can exclude children who don't meet their standards? Yeah, that'll increase the population of practicing Jews.No, so that they can make sure that those who are learning, in what i presume is an orthdox day school, are in fact Jewish. You may disagree, but at its heart there is a very real epistemic problem here. Judaism is not taken lightly and in order to keep an unbroken tradition going, it must be checked at every stage. I think it is terribly unfair to raise a non-jew as a Jew, given the hardships and constraints that the faith imposes. It is vital to establish that a kosher geirus was performed in the case of a convert; otherwise you may bring about unwitting intermarriages by those who simply assumed that the boy or girl they met at yeshiva/orthodox day school was Jewish. We're not aiming for increased numbers, we just want to get it correct.Silencer
who simply assumed that the boy or girl they met at yeshiva/orthodox day school was Jewish. This is one element. There are others that have to do with a larger commitment to Judaism. They also want to know your schul, as in "are you affiliated".Keeping our schools open is an issue. Many people find tuition difficult, enrollments can go up and down from year to year for a wide range of reasons. But, if you know your student body, it helps in planning.The original post was about Rabbi's who do mixed marriages. Not about movements. I live in Chicago. There is a Conservative Rabbi here who uses (or used to use) a kosher mikva, a respected mohel (males) for all the conversions he does. Thus even though his conversions are "conservative" they are usually recognized by all authorities. His thinking, he explained once, was to insure that his gerim would be able to make aliyah without issue. He ran what some called a conversion factory - due to the number of people he converted - he aslo did NOT do mixed marriages.And yes even people with Orthodox conversions, "lapse"; as do people born and raised Orthodox. Some come back, some stay away.Sandy
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