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November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘intermarriage’

Survey: 95 Conservative Rabbis Say They Would Conduct Intermarriage Weddings

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

(JNi.media) An organization named “Big Tent Judaism” which seeks to embrace intermarried families in the Jewish fold (presumably without the expectation of a conversion of the non-Jewish spouse down the road), sponsored a survey of 249 Conservative rabbis which found that 38 percent— 95 rabbis, would officiate at the marriage of a Jew and non-Jew if the Conservative movement lifted its prohibition on these unions. This sample corresponds to roughly 15% or the Rabbinical Assembly’s approximately 1,700 members.

The survey finds that intermarriage is part of the daily reality addressed by Conservative rabbis and Conservative congregations. Eight in ten respondents have an intermarried family member; seven in ten work with an intermarried volunteer leader in their congregation. Four in ten respondents have attended interfaith weddings, usually of close family members; a handful already officiates at interfaith weddings under some conditions.

On the whole, according to the survey, Conservative rabbis will not marry a person of patrilineal Jewish descent to another Jew, citing halacha, but the survey suggests “their views on Jewish identity are nuanced, as many distinguish between Jewish identity and halachic status.”

In the hypothetical scenario that the Conservative movement’s policy would change, just under four in ten rabbis would officiate at interfaith weddings. Also, according to the survey, almost half of Conservative rabbis interviewed feel that some discussion of their movement’s position on interfaith marriages, recognizing patrilineal descent, and admitting intermarried rabbinical candidates is warranted.

Respondents in small Jewish communities are more likely (45%) to see themselves officiating in interfaith weddings if RA rules changed, compared with respondents in large Jewish communities (33%). Female pulpit rabbis are almost twice as likely to change their practices if RA rules changed (56%) when compared to male rabbis (35%).

Here’s a counter-intuitive discovery: when comparing respondents by age and ordination date, the survey found that respondents over 50 years old and those ordained before the year 2000 are slightly more likely to officiate at interfaith weddings. The authors suggest that the difference can perhaps be explained by the fact that older, more seasoned rabbis have “softened” their attitude toward interfaith weddings after having had to repeatedly turn away intermarried couples.

The survey’s presentation is rife with opinion, not to the point of skewing the results, but certainly to add spin to the numbers. The line in the above paragraph, explaining why older Conservative rabbis are more likely to conduct an intermarriage wedding, actually says the differences are explained “by the fact that older, more seasoned rabbis have “softened” their attitude toward interfaith officiation after having to repeatedly turn away intermarried couples, many of whom would have created Jewish homes.”

Paul Golin, Big Tent’s associate executive director, says the group isn’t advocating that the Rabbinical Assembly change its policy, but rather that it should open a conversation on it. But God—and advocacy—are in the details.

The section headed, “Half of Conservative rabbis believe discussion of some RA rules is warranted” is dizzyingly biased:

“The survey asked Conservative rabbis for their view on whether three specific issues should be opened for discussion among members of the Rabbinical Assembly: allowing officiating at interfaith weddings, recognizing Jews of patrilineal descent, and accepting intermarried rabbinical candidates to Conservative seminaries. Four in ten (39%) respondents agreed that the RA should open for discussion among its members the issue of officiating at interfaith weddings; a third (33%) agreed that the RA should open for discussion the issue of accepting patrilineal descent; and one in seven (14%) agreed that the issue of admitting intermarried or inter-partnered rabbinical candidates should also be opened for discussion. Half (51%) of the respondents disagree with all three statements and think that none of these issues should be open for discussion.”

Meet: Dating App Verona: the ‘Fun Way for Israelis and Palestinians to Connect’ (and Intermarry)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

On January 17, 2001, Palestinian Authority Arabs from the Tanzim faction of Fatah killed 16-year-old Israeli high school student Ofir Rahum on the outskirts of Ramallah.

The murder was planned by 24-year-old Mona Jaud Awana from Bir Nabala. Mona pretended to be “Sali”, who met and connected with Ofir Rahum via the Internet.

After many months during which Mona/Sali conducted long, private conversations in English with Rahum using ICQ, she gained his confidence and asked him to meet her in Jerusalem.

When he arrived, she drove him to the outskirts of Ramallah, where the lovelorn Rahum was then shot at close range by members of her terror cell, fifteen times, while Mona/Sali watched.

Mona/Sali, by the way, had been present at the Ramallah lynching, and what she saw there “excited” her, and that’s when she began trolling for Israelis on the Internet to kill them.

This was their last Internet conversation:

ofir 15/01/01 i don’t know if iI have enough to come back to ashkelon

sali 15/01/01 16:04 i told you I will bring you back to tel aviv in my friends car but she will be with us..is it ok coz I am afraid to drive at night

sali 15/0101 16:35 you don’t know how much I am waiting for wednesday but we have to say bye till wednesday

ofir 15/01/01 16:35 bye

sali 15/01/01 16:35 love you dear

I thought about that story this morning, when someone told me about a new dating app that wants to promote “world peace” and intermarriage by introducing Israelis and “Palestinians”.

“Verona is how Israelis & Palestinians can connect and find love,” declares the landing page for the new app on Google Play.

You start by identifying yourself as either Israeli or Palestinian and then starts the assimilation process where the Holy Land can then become one, big happy family.

While Ofir Rahum was was the first association that popped into mind (though presumably far from the minds of the creators of this app), intermarriage was the second association I made (and that definitely was on the mind of the creators of Verona dating app).

Intermarriage is a bad thing, in of itself. But in Israel, it sometimes goes beyond just marrying out.

There have been numerous cases of very young Israeli (Jewish) girls being seduced into dating and then eloping with their Arab suitors.

Once they’re in their husband’s control, in his village, usually their treatment changes radically, they are forced into a life of servitude, and often suffer beatings. Sometimes they’re not even the only wife.

They remain trapped, even as their parents spend their waking hours searching for them.

Their stories are published almost exclusively by Israel’s right-wing press, often after a successful rescue mission by organizations such as Yad L’Achim, when the trapped girl is ready to escape.

IMHO, I suspect the main users of this dating app will be foreign lefty activists who want to identify themselves as “Palestinians” (they’d surely never identify themselves as Israelis) and meet real “Palestinians” (hah!), and some radical left-wing Israelis in Tel Aviv who also want to meet “Palestinians”, but without having to dirty themselves by crossing the Green Line. Let them all have each other.

Unfortunately, I’m very concerned for the young, naive Israeli who might end up needing Yad L’Achim’s services because of this app.

I’d wish these app-maker success, except that I don’t. I hope they fail.

Wasserman-Schultz Puts Stamp of Approval on Intermarriage

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has done somersaults after making a comment noting the “the problem of intermarriage” in the Jewish community and then insisting she does not oppose it.

It is a bit bewildering that Wasserman Schultz, who also is head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), felt the need to retract a comment that should not have raised too many eyebrows.

Her remarks were made at a Jewish Federation event, in which she said:

We have the problem of assimilation. We have the problem of intermarriage. We have the problem that too many generations of Jews don’t realize the importance of our institutions strengthening our community—particularly with the rise of anti-Semitism and global intolerance.

The playback must have sounded too committed to her and anyone, mostly in the Reform Movement, whose idea of “commitment” is not to be committed to anything, such as the Torah, that interferes with the individual as the judge and jury of what is wrong and right.

Here is how she backtracked:

At an annual Jewish community event in my congressional district, I spoke about my personal connection to Judaism and in a larger context about the loss of Jewish identity and the importance of connecting younger generations to the institutions and values that make up our community. I do not oppose intermarriage; in fact, members of my family, including my husband, are a product of it.

Is it guilt that was behind her repentance? Does she feel guilty for saying intermarriage is a “problem” when members of her family are a “product of intermarriage”?

Is it forbidden to say that intermarriage is a problem?

Apparently so.

Wasserman Schultz has implicitly put her stamp of approval on the “problem” of assimilation, which is estimated at 60 percent in the United States.

Reform Judaism does not officially oppose or favor intermarriage, although there is a clear trend of its clergy to officiate at weddings between a Jew and a non-Jew.

Polls show that only 25 percent of children of intermarried couples identify themselves as Jewish, and the term “Jewish” can be understood in its widest and most liberal interpretation that gives a person the self-satisfaction of calling himself a Jew while wolfing down a cheeseburger on Yom Kippur.

The Florida Sun-Sentinel quoted Ira M. Sheskin, of Cooper City, director of the University of Miami’s Jewish Demography Project, as saying, “There’s no question that there’s significant concern in the Jewish community over the percentage of people who are choosing not to marry Jews… From the point of view of a community that wants to see itself around in the next 100 years, it’s not a good trend.”

Wasserman Schultz’ Conservative synagogue Rabbi Adam Watstein told the Florida newspaper that “intermarriage is a feature of the reality of the Jewish community in the United States.”

That is true if the Jewish community accepts intermarriage. It is not true if it does not.

Prof. Sheskin mentioned that there is intermarriage in his own family, but that didn’t stop him from forecasting the obvious result of intermarriage for Judaism.

Wasserman Schultz couldn’t go that far, and her justification of what she admits is a “problem” is one more alarm siren for what remains of American Jewry.

3 Arrested in Arson at Jerusalem’s Mixed Jewish-Arab School

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Three members of the extremist Lehava organization, ages 18 to 22, were arrested Wednesday in connection with the torching of a mixed Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem on November 29. Brothers Nachman and Shlomo Twitto, and Yitzchak Gabai were arrested in joint operation by Israel Police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency.)

A playground and two first-grade classrooms at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand School were set ablaze in the attack. Grafitti spray-painted on the wall of the Jerusalem school in glaring scarlet read, “Down with assimilation,” “Death to the Arabs,” and “There is no co-existence with cancer.”

Details of the case were first made available to the public in part this week, after the Tel Aviv Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court partially lifted a gag order.

Under interrogation the three suspects confessed to having set fire to the building and said they were motivated by the fact that both Jews and Arabs attend the school. In addition, they said they were attempting to raise social awareness via the media regarding Jewish assimilation in Israel.

Their attorneys, Itamar Ben Gvir and Avichai Hajbi, said however that the confessions were coerced and could not be used as evidence in a trial.

Lehava is a group that works to prevent intermarriage and opposes Jewish co-existence with Arabs. The group is known for its involvement in a number of racist incidents.

Politicians across the spectrum condemned the attack.

Chelsea Clinton Gives Birth to (Non-Jewish) Baby Girl

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Chelsea Clinton gave birth to a baby girl on Friday night.

Chelsea, and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, named the baby Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky.

Chelsea tweeted a few hours after the birth:

Marc and I are full of love, awe and gratitude as we celebrate the birth of our daughter, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky.

The baby’s famous and very excited grandparents are, of course, former President Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Congratulations on giving birth to a healthy baby.


When she announced he pregnancy, Clinton, who heads an interfaith society had previous said, “With all candor, because my husband is Jewish and I’m Christian, and we’re both practicing, it’s something that’s quite close to home.”

Chelsea used a very loose definition of “practicing”.

As Rabbi Stav, the head of the moderate, Israeli Orthodox organization, Tzohar, said in November 2013,

“The problem of assimilation among American Jews is not only an American problem, it’s our problem, too. There’s an ocean of ceremonies and an ocean of people eager to conduct ceremonies. Chelsea Clinton married a Jewish guy. I’m not arguing the legitimacy of it, you’re free to think what you want. But do you want me to recognize Chelsea Clinton’s child as a Jew? You want me to recognize the rabbi who officiated at her wedding as a rabbi? Are you trying to push intermarriage through my back door?”

Assimilation is rampant among non-Orthodox Jews in America and is even worse in Europe.

According to Jewish law, a person is only considered Jewish if their mother is Jewish, or they underwent a proper conversion. Simply calling yourself Jewish, when you’re not, does not make one Jewish.

Charlotte will of course be able to properly convert to Judaism when she gets older, if she wants to become a Jew.

Judaism does not discriminate against anyone who wants to sincerely take upon themselves the obligations and laws of the Torah, and join the Jewish nation.

Muslim Man Threatens to Blow Up his Jewish Wife in Eilat

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Charges have been filed against a Muslim man (21), originally from the neighborhood of Issawia in Jerusalem, for threatening to blow up his pregnant wife with a bomb. The woman is Jewish and converted to Islam, according to a report on Erev Eilat News.

The couple moved to Eilat a year ago.

After getting into a fight in their apartment on Los Angeles Street, the man cursed and threatened his pregnant wife. The woman, fearing for her safety, pulled out a knife to defend herself. The husband took the knife away and hit her in the face.

The woman then escaped the apartment and went to stay with a friend.

Her husband found her two days later, and threatened to blow her up with a bomb.

He told her she has 24 hours to leave the city, or he’ll make her disappear.

The man also sent a threat to his wife’s girlfriend via Facebook, writing what he would do to another man that called his wife, and to “ask his friend what we do to a man that goes near another man’s wife.”

Israelis Fiercely Oppose Inter-Marriage

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Three-quarters of Israeli Jews and nearly two-thirds of Israeli Arabs would not marry someone from a different religion, according to a Dialog poll conducted by Haaretz this week.

The survey found that opposition to interfaith relationships was highest among Haredi Jews, at 95 percent, while 88 percent of traditional and religious Jews and 64 percent of secular Jews also opposed inter-dating.

Seventy-one percent of Muslim Israeli Arabs opposed interfaith relationships, but only half of Christian Israeli Arabs were opposed.

Across religious denominations, Israeli Jews would be much more opposed to their relatives marrying Arabs than they would be to relatives marrying non-Arab non-Jews. Only a third of secular Jewish Israelis would be opposed to a relative marrying an American or European Christian, but a majority would oppose a relative marrying an Arab. Seventy-two percent of Israeli Jews overall would be opposed to a relative marrying an Arab.

Last week, a small far-right group protested in Jaffa outside the wedding of an Israeli Arab and a Jewish-born Israeli who converted to Islam.

Intermarriage rage in Israel used to be minimal but has grown to approximately to five percent nationwide, and only 1 per cent of less in Judea and Samaria.

The primary cause for the rise increase is the large-scale immigration of Jews from the former Soviet bloc. Approximately 300,000 immigrated even though only the father was Jewish. A child is Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish, regardless of the religion of the father, according to Jewish law.

Not surprisingly, opposition to intermarriage was lowest among immigrants from the former Soviet Union. More than half would avoid having a relationship with a non-Jew, but if they were to fall in love with a non-Jew, only 35 percent would insist their spouse convert.

Two-thirds of Israeli Jews see intermarriage as a serious threat to Jews worldwide, and one-third see it as a serious threat to Jews in Israel.

The rate of intermarriage in the United States has shot up to more than 60 percent.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israelis-fiercely-oppose-inter-marriage/2014/08/22/

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