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Deal With Intermarriage
Wed, 12/11/2013

Much as I appreciate Jewish Theological Seminary Chancellor Arnold Eisen’s observations, and his persona — which my wife and I have observed with admiration at JTS High Holy Day services ever since he came to New York — I am disappointed that he skirts the subject of intermarriage (“Let’s Drink A L’Chaim To Conservative Judaism,” Opinion, Nov. 29).

With more than half of all Jews outside the Orthodox community marrying “out,” a less than welcoming attitude towards those they marry cannot help but push them out themselves. Intermarriage may be problematic, but it is also an opportunity — at the least to introduce non-Jews to the Jewish tradition — and in many cases to enlist the children of intermarriage, and one or both their parents, in Jewish peoplehood. Not to take that opportunity, with confidence that Judaism is able to more than hold its own in America with any competing tradition, is to be complicit in its decline.

I say this as a grandparent of two grandchildren, aged 18 and 15, from a Jewish-Christian marriage, who are as proud of their Jewishness as their five cousins from Jewish-Jewish marriages. Imagine how much stronger they might feel without the many sermons against intermarriage to which we are all exposed.

 

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