I have a few links for you and the first one is an interview with me. I know, it seems a bit solipsistic, but it’s kind of exciting to be interviewed by my hometown Jewish newspaper, the Cleveland Jewish News. They interviewed me because I’m going to be speaking on Monday night at Siegal College of Jewish Studies about interfaith families and my work at InterfaithFamily.com.
One of the things I want to discuss at the talk is how welcome for interfaith families can come from everyone in the Jewish community, regardless of denomination. I was thinking about this yesterday reading an article on Chabad preschools by Ellen Umansky on Tablet Magazine‘s website. One interesting aspect of the piece was how Chabad, which is a Hasidic Orthodox outreach group, is thinking about children from interfaith families:
The open-mindedness that characterizes Chabadâ€™s activities in general is certainly evident at the schools. The directors I spoke with said theyâ€™ll admit any child whose family is interested in a Jewish education. â€śLook, I donâ€™t like labeling. We have everyone; we have families with two mommies, we have everybody,â€ť says Chai Totsâ€™ Hecht. â€śWe have families that, halachically, are they Jewish? Noâ€”the father is Jewish but the mom is notâ€”but they want it, they want the Jewish school.â€ť
It’s kind of mind-boggling to read the Jewish press on interfaith families. It seems that all these different groups of Jews–Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, secular–are quietly thinking about how to integrate interfaith families into the Jewish community while we simultaneously argue in public about how that can possibly work. It was fun to read Maskil‘s post to the Jerusalem Post blog on recent discussion of interfaith marriage. As he put it,
We need to reframe the issue. Rather than saying “Intermarriage is the greatest threat to Jewish survival, etc.,” ad nauseum, we should be saying “integrating the intermarried into our communities is our greatest challenge, and our greatest need.”
I’m really looking forward to discussing this with people from my hometown.
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