Edgar M. Bronfman, one of InterfaithFamily.com’s most important supporters, has been in the Jewish press again recently: j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California re-printed an article about him from the Canadian Jewish News.
Mr. Bronfman, who is approaching 80, occasionally speaks publicly about his book, Hope, Not Fear. We published an excerpt from the book and blogged about it back in 2008 when it first came out.
The recent j. article includes many pithy, to-the-point observations by Mr. Bronfman:
I’m not advocating intermarriage. What I’m saying is that intermarriage is here. It’s here to stay. Let’s make it work for us, rather than against us.
Being Jewish is a choice today, not a condition … The problem is not that Jews are falling in love with non-Jews, it’s that Jews are not falling in love with Judaism.”
Jewish law [should be changed] to recognize paternal, as well as maternal, lineage…. Patrilineage was the norm among Jews until the 12th century and the time of Maimonides. We don’t have to worry about keeping the bloodlines pure nowadays. We have DNA.
In 2008, at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities (now the Jewish Federations of North America) both Mr. Bronfman and his son Adam spoke out in favor of inclusivity. In a blog post at the time, I reported that Mr. Bronfman said in his speech that the Jewish community needed to stop regarding intermarriage as the “enemy” while Adam urged the Jewish leaders in attendance to consider the potential for positive Jewish involvement by interfaith families.
Long before his book, Mr. Bronfman was a leading advocate for including interfaith families in Jewish life. In 2004 we reprinted an article about him from the Jerusalem Post, and the article title says it all: Bronfman: Children of Intermarriage Are Also Jews. We ran Sue Fishkoff’s fascinating interview of Adam Bronfman in 2007.
I hope both of the Bronfmans will continue to lead the effort to welcome interfaith families to Jewish life.
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