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I hate to draw attention to something that I think should never have surfaced, but I was outraged by something I read in the New York Jewish Week. Rabbi Joshua Hammerman writes an ethics column for the Jewish Week and he posted a reader’s question under the title “Should I be concerned about my kid’s non-Jewish friend?” To me, this question is so troubling that I think it should have been an ethical dilemma to the editors of the newspaper whether to give it attention by publishing it.
Some people have told me, “Well, that’s how traditional Jews think.” But the Jewish Week isn’t just for traditional Jews. While there are people out there who do seriously consider this an issue, it’s not OK to give credence to this thinking and a public forum for these hurtful biases.
I cannot imagine how I would feel if the “friend” in the story was my nephew. How painful would it be to my husband to know that the religion he has agreed to raise his children in and the culture that his wife holds so dear, would insult and shun his family by allowing these concerns to be voiced so publicly.
Can you imagine the reaction if the ethics columnist for the New York Times published the same column and the “friend” in question was Jewish? How many Jews would be up in arms? The paper, the columnist, and the reader who asked the question, would all be called anti-Semitic. Letters would be written. Press releases would be sent. Why do the editors of a Jewish newspaper consider it OK to publish such a question?
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