by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com

Recently The Forward published an article summarizing a study by Interfaith Family tracking the uptick in Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis who will perform intermarriages.

Reform rabbis are members of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR); Reconstructionist are members of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA).

A survey in 1995 surveyed 1794 rabbinic members of the CCAR and RRA. Of the 710 respondents, 47 percent said they would conduct a marriage ceremony between a non-Jew and a Jew. While there were numerous conditions put on their participation,

In the 2017 Interfaith Family study, of 881 responses received from 500 Reform rabbis (23 percent of all Reform rabbis) and 149 Reconstructionist rabbis (44 percent of all Reconstructionist rabbis), 85 percent said they officiate at weddings of interfaith couples with some conditions.

While in our world, Boruch Hashem, there are no Rabbanim who are willing to perform an intermarriage, the scourge of intermarriage does exist for us too, rachmana litzlan. It is heart-wrenching when one sees a Yeshiva graduate or a former Bais Yaakov girl who is about to intermarry. And intermarriage is becoming more common. A 2013 Pew Research Center report on American Jewry found that 70 percent of non-Orthodox Jews who got married after 2000 wed non-Jewish spouses.

There are a few things that go a long way in keeping our children on the right path.

  1. We should truly live the idea of ivdu es Hashem b’simcha – serving Hashem out of love.
  2. We should never outgrow telling our children that we love them and doing so regularly. This should be from fathers as well as mothers.
  3. We should take pride in our children and tell them so. We have to build their self-esteem with correct things and it should not be dependent on them following a certain line or path.
  4. Children need what is known in Hebrew as “eedud” – the knowledge that they are doing a great job. We have to tell them this. They need to hear it and not just hear from us when they are doing something wrong.
  5. Our children have to know that we are there for them. They have to know that, yes, we will drive them to where they have to go and that we always have their back.  When they need us – we have to be there and they have to know that we will always be there for them.

The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com

 

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