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Another month, another casually great column from Julie Wiener at The Jewish Week.
In this month’s column on intermarried life, Wiener talks about “The Promise,” that vague commitment to raise the kids Jewish that non-Jewish partners often make to their Jewish spouses-to-be. (I had a conversation with my fiance on this very issue two weeks ago.)
Julie brings up a great point about “The Promise,” which is that it’s rarely well-defined. For many Jews dating non-Jews, they’re not entirely sure what level of Jewish commitment they want, and that’s especially so during the years that most future spouses meet (the 20s and early 30s). So asking a partner to raise theoretical kids Jewishly at some point in the future could mean anything from sending the kids to Jewish day school and not cutting their payis until their third birthday to lighting the menorah in the kitchen with a Christmas tree in the living room. If the Jewish partner doesn’t even know what raising the kids as Jews will mean, how is the non-Jewish partner supposed to know? Perhaps that’s why Wiener calls them the “Righteous Gentile Spouses” and Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the Reform movement, calls them “heroes.”
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