Groovin’

There’s an article in the most recent issue of The (New York) Jewish Week on people who convert to Judaism who are not in a romantic relationship with a Jew.

Leana Moritt, diretor of Jewish outreach at the 92nd Street Y, points out that many non-Jews exploring Judaism do so because of the influence of a Jewish person or persons in their life. One such person is Amanda Melpolder, who decided to go through an Orthodox conversion after being inspired by the lifestyle of her Jewish colleagues. Another is Linette Padron, who dated a Jewish man for nine years but only pursued conversion after they broke up. At InterfaithFamily.com, we think of interfaith relationships solely in romantic terms, but sometimes non-romantic interfaith relationships can be just as influential on the people involved.

Also in this issue of The Jewish Week is a review of Getting Our Groove Back, a 10-point proposal for reinvigorating and strengthening the American Jewish community written by Scott Shay, self-described “concerned citizen of American Jewry.” Normally a lay-written book like this doesn’t get much press, but Shay is a philanthropist and board member of the UJA-Federation of New York, the largest federation in the country.

The book includes some valuable advice but is based on a flawed analysis of American Jewish demographics–he still clings to the long-discredited notion that there are only 5.2 million Jews in the U.S. But far worse is his approach to intermarriage, which is nearly as offensive as it is ridiculous. In the book, he says the Reform movement should scrap its 1982 decision on accepting patrilineal descent and rabbis who officiate at intermarriages should be ostracized from the community, to the point that they should be denied aliyah in any synagogue.

I’ll let the absurdity of these proposals speak for themselves.

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