Julie Wiener's In the Mix
Posted: Wed, 10/12/2011 - 09:56 | Julie Wiener's In the Mix

I’ve been corrected by fellow blogger, Rabbi Jason Miller.

Turns out Ben Stiller was falsely playing the patrilineal card on “Saturday Night Live”: according to Wikipedia at least (sorry, I don’t have any connections with the Stiller family, so I can’t confirm at this moment) his mother, Anne Meara, converted to Judaism before he was born.

Posted: Mon, 10/10/2011 - 15:43 | Julie Wiener's In the Mix

Has anyone ever articulated the dilemma of life as a patrilineal (Jewish dad, gentile mom) Jew as succinctly as Ben Stiller on this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live”?

“My father’s Jewish, my mother’s Irish-Catholic, which means according to the Torah I’m not actually Jewish, but according to all mirrors I am,” he said during his opening monologue as the show’s guest host.

Posted: Fri, 10/07/2011 - 13:04 | Julie Wiener's In the Mix

Huffington Post has a provocative piece this week by Jessica Langer-Sousa, a self-described “observant” Jewish woman who wanted to go to the mikveh before her wedding to a “devout” Catholic. (The quotation marks aren’t intended to be snide, but just to note that since “observant” and “devout” are both somewhat subject-to-interpretation adjectives that she doesn’t define, I am not sure what they mean in this context.)

After being rebuffed by the mikveh lady at one Los Angeles spot, Langer-Sousa consulted with “Rabbi Lori,” the rabbi officiating at her nuptials, and opted instead to dunk in the Pacific. The ceremony turned out to be even more meaningful and spiritual than she’d anticipated.

You might think my knee-jerk “In The Mix” reaction would be to indignantly side with Langer-Sousa as she rails against the (presumably Orthodox) mikveh lady, who told her she wouldn’t be permitted in the ritual bath because her marriage would not be recognized in the eyes of God. But, while the mikveh at the beach sounds great, I actually found the piece troubling. 

Posted: Wed, 10/05/2011 - 13:44 | Julie Wiener's In the Mix

If you think Jewish-gentile intermarriage presents a conundrum to the modern Jewish community, then imagine how it perplexed the Nazis, whose whole ideology depended on strictly hierarchical racial/ethnic classifications.

After all, when your entire MO is to exterminate an entire group people, while simultaneously expanding your so-called Master Race, the existence of Aryan-Jewish couples and their “Mischling” offspring is inconvenient to say the least.

Evan Burr Bukey’s “Jews and Intermarriage in Nazi Austria,” of which I’ve just read a review (and can’t wait to get my hands on the book itself), addresses this fascinating topic, looking at the Nazis’ often contradictory, even absurd, policies vis a vis intermarried couples, and at the experiences of the families themselves.

Posted: Wed, 09/28/2011 - 11:44 | Julie Wiener's In the Mix

At Rosh HaShanah, I try to set aside some time for writing in my much-neglected journal and doing a personal year-in-review, thinking about what went well and what I’d like to improve.

But with all the back-to-school clatter, and with menu-planning for the holiday meals, I haven’t had a chance to do this yet, and I’m hoping to have some time for this in the coming days.

I have, however, done some thinking about “In the Mix.”

Posted: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 14:33 | Julie Wiener's In the Mix

Good news from the City of Brotherly Love.

It’s not just that my friend Hila Ratzabi moved there and not just that my former JTA boss Lisa Hostein has taken over its Jewish newspaper.

Now, a Conservative synagogue in suburban Philly is changing its policies to allow gentile spouses to become full synagogue members.
Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El’s new policy was written up a few weeks ago in A Jewish Newspaper That Shall Remain Nameless, in an article that accomplished the remarkable feat of writing at great length about various policies affecting intermarried families and quoting a number of sources, not one of them an intermarried person.