Tag Archive: intermarriage


The current consensus in America is that people can fall in love across race, ethnic group, and creed and that nothing should stand in their way. As a result, Jews are justly sensitive to the charge that discouraging intermarriage is a form of bigotry, since, for many non-Jews, Jewish aversion to intermarriage is problematic. How can Jews claim to be tolerant and then be unwilling to allow their child to marry a non-Jew? Jews who intermarry also have difficulty understanding their friends’ and relatives’ consternation at their decision, a decision which they perceive as a testament to their openness to different cultures. This view of Jewish intermarriage must change.
Jewish inmarriage is not a form of bigotry.

Scott A. Shay, Getting Our Groove Back: How to Energize American Jewry, 2nd ed. (Jerusalem & New York: Devora Publishing, 2008), 146

The intermarriage of one Jewish individual is rarely a sudden occurrence. Rather, an individual’s choice to intermarry is a function of the depth of their Jewish education and experiences, the density of the Jewish population in the relevant geographic area, and commitment to “in-dating”. An American Jew who chooses to intermarry typically shares many of the same goal and values as his/her non-Jewish fiancé(e) and is, therefore, open to building a family with him or her. Intermarriage is also a sign of the success of Jewish acculturation to the American environment and acceptance by Americans.

Scott A. Shay, Getting Our Groove Back: How to Energize American Jewry, 2nd ed. (Jerusalem & New York: Devora Publishing, 2008), 145-146

The “sacred core” of the Reform Movement is personal sovereignty. In defining Judaism as a set of options from which Reform Jews are free to draw selectively, its adherents are ruled by what Rabbi Heschel called the “tyranny of the ego.” The center of religion becomes not G-d, but man. As we gyrate around ourselves, we cry, Vox populi vox dei.

The relativizing of the absolute is absolute in the Reform movement. Many Reform Jews think that G-d endorses what they do so long as it is “nice.” The response to intermarriage is, “It is not of great importance who they marry as long as the kids are happy.” The zone of self-regard has expanded so far as to crowd out G-d.

Rabbi Mark S. Miller, “Reform Judaism and Audacious Superficiality“, Times of Israel (7 February 2014)

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),

Children become “bilingual,” Katz Miller contends, the way that they might in a home where more than one language is spoken. But often what really happens in homes where two languages are spoken is that children are semi-lingual in both, unable to sustain a robust conversation in either.

Erica Brown, “Part-Time Judaism”, 2013-2014: The Year Gone By…The Year Ahead, A Special Supplement to the Florida Jewish Journal and the New York Jewish Week (27 December 2013), 7.