At the Reform Movement’s November 2005 biennial convention, the president of the Movement, Rabbi Eric Yoffe, said that “by making non-Jews feel comfortable and accepted in our congregations, we have sent the message that we do not care if they convert. But that is not our message.” He continued by saying that “the time has come to reverse direction by returning to public conversions and doing all the other things that encourage conversion in our synagogues.” The same reasoning could be used with respect to patrilineal descent. By telling Jewish fathers that their children are Jewish, the Reform Movement gives the impression that it sanctions intermarriage by continuing to tolerate clergy who officiate at intermarriages. By reconsidering the policy of patrilineal descent and enforcing the Reform Movement’s stated opposition to intermarriage, the Reform Movement will clarify boundaries for itself and heal the rifts between itself and all of klal Yisrael.

Scott A. Shay, Getting Our Groove Back: How to Energize American Jewry, 2nd ed. (Jerusalem & New York: Devora Publishing, 2008),

Advertisements