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My friend and wonderful writer Judy Bolton-Fasmanâ€™s most recent column is a great one, and not just because of the shout-out to InterfaithFamily.com. In An Interfaith Family with a Jewish Heart, Judy writes about the bar mitzvah of the son of one of her oldest friends, Vicki, and her Lutheran-raised husband, Kurt. Itâ€™s a very moving account.
[The bar mitzvah boy] talked about how his beautiful mother and his generous father supported his Jewish learning. His non-Jewish grandparents read the Schechehiyanu… I took Kurt aside during the weekend and thanked him for being a beloved companion of the Jewish people.
Judyâ€™s column, which I read in hard copy in the Jewish Advocate of Boston, reminded me of a blog post from a year ago describing a similar situation. J.J. Goldberg, senior columnist for the Forward, had written a column titled “Our Changing Judaism” about his experience at a family bar mitzvah where the father was not Jewish. I wrote at the time that â€śIt is heartening to me for a thought leader of J.J. Goldberg’s stature to say that it felt natural and necessary for a non-Jewish parent to be an integral part of the celebration of raising a Jewish childâ€ť and concluded:
When more Jewish leaders recognize that Goldberg’s cousin’s family — with an unconverted non-Jewish parent participating in raising a Jewish child — is not sub-optimal, but instead is a positive Jewish outcome equal to any other — then we will have a truly “changing Judaism.”
I welcome Judyâ€™s piece as another step in that direction.
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