Rethinking intermarriage again

Rethinking intermarriage again

Please let me state my opposition to two articles in the August 9 paper.

First of all, the idea of intermarried clergy should have been nixed immediately by Rabbi Panken (“Aaron Panken chosen to head Reform seminary”). Rabbis, regardless of denomination, are supposed to stand for Jewish continuity. Even under the best circumstances, an intermarriage is a disruption of that continuity. Hence, an intermarried rabbi would be an oxymoron.

Secondly, the unqualified welcome to intermarrieds discussed in “Now what?” would be an absolute disaster. The traditional wing of the Conservative movement and Orthodoxy understand this, notwithstanding the comments that the article took out of context. To unconditionally welcome intermarrieds into the Jewish community would water down Jewish identity to the extent that it would become meaningless, as the non-Jewish spouse would bring his Christian or other non-Jewish heritage into the mix.

The far better approach is the partial open door, which would allow such couples to enter the Jewish community only when they adopt an exclusive Jewish identity. It may well be that most intermarrieds will leave the Jewish community but Jewish identity would remain intact.

This is the message of traditional Conservative and Orthodox Judaism.