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Conservative Jews question rules on interfaith weddings, dating non-Jews
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Does intermarriage lead to assimilation and weaken the Jewish community? Or is it a way for a religion that traditionally does not seek converts to.
On paper, it makes sense. This is a disaster for Jewish continuity. We will assimilate ourselves out of existence. But real life can get in the way of theory. We all know people who are per cent Jewish but who have zero interest in either Judaism or Jewishness and no feelings of connection with their fellow Jews. The beautiful tapestry of Jewish civilisation — our literature, our music, our humour and our food — these treasures built up over millennia leave them cold.
There are Jews with just one Jewish parent who identify very strongly indeed.
Growing Up Orthodox and Coming to Terms with Interfaith Dating
The driver turns the corner. But before she can respond, the driver presses the brakes. This is a living, breathing human being. Several years have passed since that day: an era of shidduch [arranged] dates, resumes, phone calls, reference checks. No more being bothered by older women. I had finally crossed the line to safety.
All marriages are mixed marriages. Catholics know this. It does not matter if both partners are committed Roman Catholics, were even raised in.
For those who see intermarriage as an epidemic threatening the Jewish community and interfaith dating as the first step to intermarriage, the decision was troubling. But for others, the move was simply an acknowledgment of prevailing norms among young non-Orthodox American Jews, many of whom were themselves raised in interfaith families. Such attitudes were not limited to unaffiliated Jewish teens; rather, most of these articles focused on teens who were active in Jewish life, whether through youth groups, Jewish summer camps, or Jewish sports competitions like the Maccabi Games.
In , the Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Somewhat over one-half, however, rejected the possibility of intermarriage. Three decades later , Brandeis University surveyed 1, participants in four regional JCC Maccabi Games, finding, among other things, that the majority of Jewish teenagers wanted to marry a Jewish partner but did not object to dating non-Jews:. In contrast to adults, the teens made a distinction between dating and marrying within the religion.
More than half the teens surveyed — or 52 percent — said marrying someone Jewish is very important to them while only 37 percent said that exclusively dating Jews is of equal importance.
Is there any truth to the old story that orthodox Jews have sex through a hole in a sheet? No. It’s the most widespread myth about Orthodox.
All marriages are mixed marriages. Catholics know this. It does not matter if both partners are committed Roman Catholics, were even raised in the same church, attended the same catechism classes in the same dank basement, were confirmed on the same day by the same bishop and matriculated at the same Catholic college.
Among Catholic couples you may still find that one prefers this kind of Mass and one that kind, one adores the current pope and the other loathes him. One is committed to raising the children within the faith, while the other will give the children latitude to come to their own conclusions about God and the universe. And I always imagine, as a Jew, that Roman Catholics have it easy. At least they have a fixed star, in the pope and the Vatican, to ground their arguments and measure the depths of their dissent.
Think of what it is like for us Jews. That is when the negotiations begin! One of you never wants to go to synagogue, while the other would never miss it on Rosh Hashana. One of you eats only kosher food, while the other one loves a good bacon cheeseburger. Or you both keep kosher—but how kosher?
In Reckless Waters: Falling in Love with a Non-Jew
Stay up to date on events, institutes, fellowships, and new digital content from the Tikvah Center. A half-century after the rate of Jewish intermarriage began its rapid ascent in the United States, reaching just under 50 percent by the late s, many communal spokesmen appear to have resigned themselves to the inevitable. Some speak in tones of sorrow and defeat. For others, the battle is over because it should be over.
The real threat, according to this view, emanates from those who stigmatize intermarried families as somehow deficient; with a less judgmental and more hospitable attitude on the part of communal institutions, many more intermarried families would be casting their lot with the Jewish people.
The survey suggests that intermarriage is common among Jews; 44% of all currently married Jewish respondents – and 58% of those who.
In considering issues relating to the conversion of non-Jews to Judaism, Orthodox Jews tend to defend a strict policy that we term the halakhic approach [one that strictly follows traditional Jewish law]. Conversion for the sole purpose of marriage is highly discouraged. Conversion when the non-Jew does not intend to observe halakhah in full is generally considered to be no conversion at all. Rabbi Melech Schachter, in a fine article on conversion, states what most Orthodox Jews believe:.
The traditional stringency is not the only halakhically valid approach available to us; on the contrary, this may be the proper time to rely on other halakhic standards. No one will argue that conversion to Judaism for other than spiritual reasons is ideal. Certainly it should be discouraged. However, in terms of practical reality we may have to be more tolerant of such conversions.
In his response, Rabbi Uziel opens with a quotation from the Shulhan Arukh Yoreh Deah, , which states that we must examine a potential convert to determine if his motives for accepting Judaism are sincere. Certainly, the ideal is not to convert those who are insincere. Then Rabbi Uziel adds that since in our generation intermarriage is common in civil courts, we are often forced to convert the non-Jewish partner in order to free the couple from the prohibition of intermarriage.
We must also do so in order to spare their children who would otherwise be lost to the Jewish fold. If we are faced with a de facto mixed marriage we are permitted to convert the non-Jewish spouse and the children, when applicable. If this is true when a couple is already married, it is obviously true before they have begun a forbidden marriage relationship.
Nearly half of Israeli Jews would consider wedding non-Jew if in Diaspora
And those are the good ones. My partner and I are some weird local version of the Lovings in the Jewish community. On the flip side, there are those in the Jewish community who think my relationship is somehow single handedly responsible for the decline and eventual annihilation of the Jewish people. And you thought regular dating was stressful. Imagine having that kind of power and pressure when it comes to who you binge Netflix with.
Finally, it suggests possible future marriage trends for South African. Jewry. Historical Background. The South African Jewish community is a highly organized.
My husband’s father and mother are Jews. My parents are both what Mr. Hitler would be pleased to call ‘Aryan’ Germans. I am an American-born girl, and the first to defend my Americanism in an argument; yet so strong are family ties, and the memory of a happy thirteen-month sojourn in the Vaterland a few years ago, that I frequently find myself trying to see things from the Nazis’ point of view and to find excuses for the things they do—to the dismay of our liberal-minded friends and the hurt confusion of my husband.
Here we are then, Ben and I, a Jew and a German-American, married for four years, supremely happy, with a three-year-old son who has his father’s quick brown eyes and my yellow hair. Ours was a fervent love match, made more fervent by the fact that we had to wait in secret for two years until Ben earned enough at his profession to support a family. He had known other girls and, as I was twenty-five before we married, I had had my share of other men’s attention.
Consequently our marriage was not the hasty, impassioned leap of two people soaring on the Icarian wings of a first love. That which was between us was calm as the night, deep as the sea; in the light of it we both knew that forever afterwards he would look upon other women, and I upon other men, as pale wraiths. We determined that no obstacle should prevent our union, and obstacles there were a-plenty as soon as our families learned our intention.
Married to a Jew, you will be barred from certain circles. They can say what they like about Germany, but democratic America is far from wholeheartedly accepting the Jews. Remember that Ben couldn’t join a fraternity at his university. Remember there are clubs and resorts and residential districts that bar Jews.