Ellen Lippman, rabbi of Kolot Chayeinu in Brooklyn, has an important contribution in todayâ€™s Forward to the debate about admitting and ordaining as rabbis people in interfaith relationships, an issue weâ€™ve blogged about frequently. In an â€śopen letterâ€ť to her alma mater, Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Lippman, who is partnered with a person who is not Jewish, writes,
We are like the thousands of Jews across America who commit to strongly Jewish lives with their non-Jewish spouses. Interfaith families tell me that having a rabbi who mirrors their relationships makes an enormous difference to being able to commit to Jewish life.
Rabbi Lippman argues that an â€śinclusive vision of Jewish leadershipâ€ť means that â€śwe should not push away those who want to become leaders of the Jewish community as rabbis just because they are intermarried.â€ť And she argues that:
A rabbi is a role model, and there are many kinds of role models. Intermarriage is a fact of American Jewish life. We can do a better job of connecting intermarried Jews to synagogues, rabbis and Jewish life. One way is to knowingly ordain intermarried rabbis.
It will be fascinating to follow this issue as it is debated at HUC.