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September 21, 1990 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-09-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Intermarriage

Continued from preceding page

Tempting fashions, gifts and food to satisfy all your appetites.

rchard Lake Road at Lone Pine • West Bloomfield

Crosswinds and its merchants
wish you and yours a very
happy, healthy and
prosperous New Year.

38

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 1990

non-Jewish bride agreed to
convert.
"These figures suggest
that a majority of the Or-
thodox laity is prepared to
accept a linkage between
conversion and intermar-
riage; a linkage that has
been regarded as contrary to
halachah," Dr. Mayer said.
In addition, 80 percent of
the B'nai B'rith Women re-
spondents said they would
consider their grandchildren
from a mixed marriage Jew-
ish even if the mother was
non-Jewish. And 69 percent
of the respondents to the
Outreach Institute survey
felt the same way, provided
the children were raised as
Jews.
This finding, said Dr.
Mayer, may betray "the pro-
found desire on the part of
American Jewish parents to
deny the possible conse-
quences of intermarriage, on
the one hand, and to assure
themselves of having Jewish
grandchildren on the other."
The tacit acceptance of
patrilineal descent repre-
sents a radical break with
traditional Jewish law,
which only recognized the
children of Jewish mothers
as Jews. Both the Reform
and Reconstructionist have
already officially adopted
the same break, essentially
in recognition of the per-
vasiveness of intermarriage.
Conservative and Orthodox
still, however, insist upon
the halachic standard of ma-
trilineal descent.
The question of rabbis of-
ficiating at mixed marriages
also revealed deep divisions
within American Jewry.
Findings showed splits bet-
ween Conservative and
Reform rabbis and their lay
congregants, as well as a
strong divergence over the
issue within the Reform
rabbinate.
Conservative rabbis are of-
ficially enjoined from per-
forming mixed marriages,
while the Reform rabbinate
is on record as recognizing
that intermarriage is con-
trary to Jewish tradition.
Despite those positions, 73
percent of the non-Orthodox
B'nai B'rith Women re-
spondents said they favored
having a rabbi officiate at
the marriage of a non-
Jewish man to a Jewish
woman. Some 69 percent
favored that arrangement
when the groom is the Jew-
ish partner.
More than 70 percent of
the Conservative and 90
percent of the Reform lay
people who responded to the
Outreach Institute survey
also supported that position,
provided there is agreement

the children will be raised
Jewish.
By way of contrast, less
than 5 percent of the Con-
servative rabbis who re-
sponded said they would of-
ficiate at intermarriages,
even if the partners are
committed to raising their
children as Jews. About 40
percent of the Reform rabbis
indicated they would of-
ficiate at such marriages,
while about 15 percent said
they would do so even
without a commitment.
"This is bad news for the
Conservative and Reform
movements," Dr. Mayer
said. "Mixed marriage of-
ficiating remains a fun-
damental no-no for rabbis,
yet we have the laity
demanding it and Reform
rabbis split on the issue.
"I don't know what
happens to a movement
when the rabbinate sees it
one way, the laity another.
Both movements have some
important ideological ques-
tions that need resolving."
The "good news" to be
gleaned from the surveys,

Eighty percent in
one survey said
they would prefer to
see a 35-year-old
daughter marry a
non-Jew rather than
stay single. Just
over 60 percent
opted for
intermarriage over
singlehood when a
son is involved.

Dr. Mayer continued, is the
willingness of all those
surveyed to deal head-on
with issues connected to
intermarriage. B'nai B'rith
survey respondents express-
ed a strong feeling that vir-
tually all Jewish organiza-
tions should be more
oriented to the needs of
intermarried families.
"There is a broad consen-
sus among all three
movements (Orthodox, Con-
servative and Reform) that
the Jewish community
ought to engage in a con-
certed effort to attract
intermarried couples into
the Jewish fold — an effort
that represents a serious
departure from tradition as
far as the Orthodox are con-
cerned," Dr. Mayer said.
"Most, including the Or-
thodox, would like to see the

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