The Not-Jewish-Enough Rivka Cohen, And The Big Fat (Fictional) Muslim-Jewish Wedding
05/09/2012 - 14:38

A few items of interest on the intermarriage beat:

-Rivka T. Cohen has a heartbreaking article on Huffington Post about the shoddy treatment she’s gotten from some observant Jewish peers at her college Hillel. In “I Was Raised Orthodox, But I Am Not Considered ‘Jewish Enough’ To Keep The Sabbath,” Cohen, a senior at Princeton, writes about how her mother’s Conservative conversion — and by extension, Cohen’s authenticity — came under attack only when she got to college.

Yes, I know the traditional response: this is not her Orthodox classmates’ fault, but, rather is the fault of the Reform and Conservative movements for doing things their own way, rather than deferring to Orthodoxy. I don’t buy it. Whether or not one believes Cohen is halachically Jewish, one can and should treat her with respect and sensitivity. It never ceases to amaze me how so many Jews lament American Jewry’s disinterest in communal involvement, while at the same time pushing away eager participants like Cohen.

-And check out the latest from Lehava, an Israeli group whose main purpose seems to be preventing Jewish women from becoming romantically involved with Arabs, or other non-Jews. When I last wrote about them, Lehava activists were appearing before a Knesset committee, alongside Yad L’Achim, a group that conducts paramilitary rescues for unhappily intermarried Jewish women and their children who are living in Arab villages. Now, they’re getting a little creative, distributing on the streets of Jerusalem mock wedding invitations announcing the nuptials of a nice Jewish girl to a Mohammad.

According to Ynet’s translation, the "invitation" asks you to join Michal and Mohammad as they celebrate their marriage on a Friday night at the Shahid (martyr) events hall in Ramallah. Next to the invitation the ad reads: "If you don't want your daughter's wedding invitation to look like this then…Don't let her work with Arabs or do national service with non-Jews, don't let her work in place that employs enemies and don't bring home migrant workers…"

If my translation is correct, the rest of the flier says: “do good, guard [protect?] your daughter. We have enough problems ...”


One does not have to be an advocate for the intermarried to find this shockingly offensive (not to mention ineffective). I am hardly calling for widespread Jewish-Arab intermarriage, although interestingly Brazil’s foreign minister, Antonio de Agular Patriota, did exactly that last week, citing intermarriage as a possible solution to the ongoing Mideast conflict:

While participating in a Q&A with AJC head honcho David Harris, Patriota said he was encouraged by all the intermarriage he saw between Jews and Arabs in Sao Paulo, remarking that “if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.”

Presumably he hasn’t yet been invited to Michal and Mohammad’s gala event in Ramallah.

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Jewish women who marry Islamic men in Israel automatically lose many of their civil rights, rights which we as americans, as Jews, Israelis, take for granted. The woman in a muslim marriage is under the control of her husband, the children become PROPERTY of the husband (not wife), the husband is allowed to beat his wife.

What sane Jew could possibly be in favor of this type of marriage?

What sane Jew would NOT want to prevent these marriages?

it is always muslim MEN getting off with jewish WOMEN. NEVER the other way round. If a muslim woman would be seen together with a jewish man, her family would murder her! Every year thousands of young muslim girls are being killed, as they are suspected to have a boyfriend or non-muslim friend...

Dear Julie:

Thanks for covering the story about Rivka T. Cohen. No half-Jewish person should be asked to serve as a "shabbas goy" for other Jews and advised that she shouldn't date other Jews because she is not Jewish enough.

Also thanks for mentioning the activities of Yad L'Achim and Lehava. The group I lead, the Half-Jewish Network, has been watching the activities of these Israeli Orthodox groups for some time and we believe their real motivation is to break up Jewish/Arab intermarriages and prevent Jewish/Arab romantic relationships from forming.

Robin Margolis
Half-Jewish Network

As a proud supporter of Yad L'Achim many varied activities, not just those rescuing Jews from Arab Moslem families, -- as I would hope any Jew would be --, let me note that even Ms Wiener notes that its rescue efforts are directly toward "unhappily married Jewish women and their children living in Arab villages" (that is, with Moslem husbands and their extended families). Please note that in Islamic law, children (all past age 7) become the exclusive property of the Moslem husband. That if the wife realizes her marriage is not for her, or for her children, she faces increased abuse if not mortal harm from the Arab Moslems. Should the woman have adopted Islam in the deal, well, we know what happens to those in the Arab world who seek to leave Islam.
As for Jewish young woman, naive in the world, is it such a horrible thing that they be encouraged to think twice about leaving their family, their religion, their nation, to become part of a Moslem family? The young men make promises, seem to open, but once the woman enters the family, in most cases, the trap closes. The woman becomes the slave of the mother-in-law. What is next, further down the road? A second or third co-wife, or perhaps already existing other wives?
And the point of citing the idiotic suggestion of the Brazilian foreign minister (a country noted for its alliance with the Arab world)?
Perhaps Rivkah Cohen could be a worthy contributor to your pages. This piece by Wiener fails any test of worthiness. Another potshot at Jews who care for their people -- Yad L'Achim..