Providing quality experiences to enrich the lives of the community at large with award-winning preschool programs, summer camps and a wide array of enriching activities. JCC Chicago provides the opportunities to bring Jewish values to the lives of everyone from infants to adults.
A great way for Jewish professionals and volunteers who work with and provide programming for people in interfaith relationships to locate resources and trainings to build more welcome into their Jewish communities; connect with and learn from each other; and publicize and enhance their programs and services.
My reply to Rabbi Berkowitz’s question is that I would not have converted if I had thought that the most important benefits of converting were to be able to “participate in weddings, bnai mitzvah and community life, and be buried in a Jewish cemetery”. It deeply saddens me that some people do not seem to believe that people really do convert to Judaism for sincere religious reasons, even those who are already married to Jews. The reason that some people who are married to Jews convert many years later is precisely because they do NOT take it that lightly. I am grateful to have had a sponsoring rabbi who did not expect my motivations to be as superficial as she would have.
My question to anyone who is against mixed burials in Jewish cemeteries is: If a Jewish men, or Jewish woman is married to a non-Jewish person, why not respect their decisions they made when they were alive? If when they were alive they had a happy life, and family with that non-Jewish person, they will like to continue that in the other life. Their wishes are that they want to be with the person they loved in the grave too. And their ways, and wishes should be respected.
My Roman Catholic father Dr. Hollander is buried at the Riverside Cemetery in New Jersey in his Jewish wife’s (Ina Kahn) family plot.
A yarmulke was put on him at burial time and a Jewish name created for him, and he was buried with the services of a rabbi, not a priest. I cannot put up a cross at his gravesite even though he never converted to Judaism, he had three wives and chose not to convert to the religion of any of them. And the president of Riverside maintained in a note to me that his facility is exclusively for those of the Jewish faith at the time of death, which my father was not.
If mixed faith families choose to be buried together, looking the other way and pretending that the deceased is in fact Jewish by giving him a Jewish name is not in my opinion an appropriate solution.
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