Article Discussion: Turning Off the Autopilot

HomeDiscussionsPregnancy, Birth Ceremonies and AdoptionArticle Discussion: Turning Off the Autopilot

This topic has 3 voices, contains 3 replies, and was last updated by  Debbie B. 8 years ago.

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October 16, 2009 at 4:00 am #3891


Click here to read the article: Turning Off the Autopilot

October 16, 2009 at 6:13 pm #3895

Debbie B.


I admire the fact that both you and your wife make important life decisions “with intention”. That is a good way to have a healthy marriage whether interfaith or not. I think for this reason that good interfaith marriages sometimes have an advantage in that it is clear from the beginning that the two individuals have some differences in backgrounds and beliefs. That makes them more sensitive to the other person’s feelings because they are less likely to take things for granted.

October 18, 2009 at 10:25 am #3901


This is a good and interesting article. However, there is one aspect that is missing, and that would be of great interest to readers. The article explains how they personally have worked out decisions, at least with regard to circumcision. However, if Birger’s wife is indeed Modern Orthodox, it would be important to know how they are integrating into a community. Most Modern Orthodox communities, even more liberal ones, do not encourage the membership of intermarried families absent a commitment by the non-Jewish spouse to convert. Shabbat observance usually works much better with a community. Do they have a support network, and if not, what are they doing instead? If the wife grew up Modern Orthodox, what are the dynamics with the rest of the family, etc. If they are not currently part of a community, how do they ultimately plan to integrate into one? These are important points that would really round out the picture.

October 20, 2009 at 3:40 am #3916

Debbie B.

I also wondered about the reaction of Juliet’s Modern Orthodox congregation. One factor that helps is that since the Jewish parent is the mother, the son is simply a Jew by birth. If the son had not been circumcised, that could have caused rejection by the community.

I know a bit about the MO synagogue that I think Juliet attends if it is in Berkeley where their wedding took place. When I was first married, we lived in Berkeley and I used to carpool with a member of that congregation. I would have expected any Orthodox congregation, even that relatively “liberal” one to be critical of any member who married a non-Jew, but I suppose some people would expect that of my own traditional, although egalitarian, minyan, and they were very welcoming of my family and the one other intermarried family.

There may be issues in the future when Birge’s family must deal with other Jewish institutions such as day school or Jewish summer camp. For example, although my Lesbian Orthodox friends found a welcoming Orthodox congregation, two Orthodox day schools rejected the application of their daughter due to their non-traditional family structure. Luckily they are very happy with the day school that accepted her.

I hope Birge’s family continues to find acceptance by Jewish groups.

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