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Conservatives Alter Approach to Intermarriage

From conversion to ‘openness’

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Sue Fishkoff reports that the Conservative movement in America, while strictly maintaining its concrete rules against intermarriage—most rabbis won’t officiate interfaith weddings, for example—are switching tack from opposing intermarriage in every conceivable way to accepting it as part of a larger effort to bring both members of such couples closer to Judaism. It appears the shift is somewhat the result of a ground-up agitation, with Men’s Clubs, which tend to favor openness, winning over the institutional establishment, which is inclined to insist on conversion.

Like other Conservative rabbis, [Rabbi Carl Wolkin of Northbrook, Illinois,] will not officiate at an interfaith wedding, but he wants the couple to know they are wanted in the congregation as they explore their Jewish future. That message has been blurred too often in the Conservative world, which hurts the movement, he says.

If that seems like no news to you, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Conservative Movement Tipping Toward Openness to Children of Intermarried [JTA]

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What is the difference between Reform and Conservative Judaism again?

is there not a difference between interfaith marriages and intermarriages? to my knowledge, Reform will officiate at intermarriages, but assume that the children will be raised Jewish to an extent. this isn’t the case with “interfaith” marriages. or at least that’s how i define the terms…

rightgirl says:

Response to SML’s question: What is the difference between Reform and Conservative Judaism again?

Answer: 5 years.

Marty Janner says:

It’s Appalling to me, that there are some of us that would equate Conservatives with the Reform because of this judgement. The issue is do we lose these families, or do we perhaps get the entire family back into the faith!

My thesis is that in terms of what is going on in our country, with the vitriolic verbeage, perhaps a move of this nature would be appropriate!

Intermarriage is a fact of life in the non-Orthodox world. Neither Reform or Conservative Judaism will survive without aggressive effort at kiruv to interfaith families. As for the denominational differences, I take exception to the suggestion that there’s not much difference between Reform and Conservative Judaism. The fact that a plurality if not a majority of people affiliated with Conservative synagogues are not ritually observant, doesn’t annul the respect and value the movement officially places on halacha. That’s a far cry from the Orthodox who have turned rigid-fixed-inflexible ancient applications of halacha into the primary goal and purpose of daily Jewish life and the Reform for whom Jewish values always take precedent over the demands of tradition.

Conservative membership is falling like a rock.
Orthodox membership is soaring.

So what do the Conservatives keep doing? They keep moving away from the Orthodox.

Patrick Crabtree says:

Just because Orthodox is soaring does not mean that we need to abandon our fold. I am Reconstructionist and our synagogue is growing leaps and bounds. Interfaith, intermarriage, and conversions have attributed to this growth. If we are to survive, we need to show the world (without prosletizing) that we have something special. We are rather traditional in many respects, especially the Hebrew aspect. When we become too rigid, we dwindle out of existence. Recostructionists and Reforms are also growing in the U.S.

rightgirl: I give it 10 years until the Conservative movement recognizes patrilineal descent and merges with the Reform.

It’s the only difference between the two movements anyways.

I have found that if you ask any Reform or Conservative Rabbi if they believe in God they will answer no anyway. It’s all about socializing as a Jewish Community rather than belief in God or the Torah. Hey, when my Reform Rabbi said Kaddish for the Palestinians killed in Lebanon on Yom Kippur I knew that it was not a Jewish religion anymore.

HollyMartins says:

These same Rabbis that won’t perform an inter marriage, will perform a gay wedding?

And let’s not forget Slick Willies Daughter???

Ah; for the thrilling of a shilling!!!

Institutional religion…Judaism included…For the birds…I tried to involve my family once at a Conservative synagogue, and was incensed at the rabbi’s sermon on the evils of intermarriage. I stood up with my family at the service and walked out of the temple. That was twenty-five years ago and I have never returned. I give to Jewish organizations generously and to Jewish non-profits, and raised my children to be Jewish. Screw the establishment and their phony religiosity.Get a real spiritual life.

Charles says:

Orthodox Judaism soaring? While the numbers may be growing overall, the vast majority of that growth is in the ultra-Orthodox world, which is closing itself off further and further from secular life, and the rest of the Jewish people. Modern Orthodoxy continues to balance precariously on the few thousands of practitioners, as they see people move to the right or left, and rarely stay to define the middle. From where I sit, the only true growth demographic in Jewish life is the ever-more-complex “Other.”


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Conservatives Alter Approach to Intermarriage

From conversion to ‘openness’

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