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IFF is in the early stages of developing a resource for rabbis on the issue of officiation at interfaith weddings. It’s a sticky issue for rabbis; the Conservative movement forbids its rabbis from officiating at interfaith weddings, but obviously there are a significant number of interfaith couples in their congregations. The Reform movement’s position is more nuanced: the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the association for Reform rabbis, has a resolution on the books that disapproves of officiation but also leaves the decision up to individual rabbis.
Once a rabbi decides he will officiate, the situation often gets trickier: What are the conditions? How do you announce the decision to your congregation? The third-largest Reform congregation in the U.S., The Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, D.C., recently went through this process, as detailed in a Washington Jewish Week article. Judging from the article, it sounds like they’ve thought long and hard about the decision, and have come up with a carefully crafted policy that is fair to the needs of interfaith couples and respectful of individual rabbis’ principles.
But, nonetheless, his approach is a very good start, and we commend Rabbi Freeman for looking for innovative ways to keep interfaith couples Jewishly engaged. The J. apparently concurs with our view.
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