We received the following story from Yad L’Achim’s counter-assimilation department, which has traditionally focused its efforts on Jewish women involved with non-Jewish men, but has recently begun working with Jewish men contemplating “marrying out.” Although the story does not offer exact dates, we believe it describes a recent event.
The story involves a young man from central city in Israel who was in the process of registering with the Israeli Rabbinical Court to marry. In the course of gathering the necessary documentation he discovered that his wife-to-be had been adopted by Jewish parents and never converted, meaning she was not Jewish. He didn’t know what to do, especially considering that all the preparations had been made and the wedding was just weeks away.
He shared his quandary with a religious friend, who tried to convince him to call the wedding off. But two days later, the groom announced that he’d decided to go ahead with the wedding as scheduled.
His concerned friend turned to Yad L’Achim and asked if someone there could meet with the groom-to-be and try to prevent a mixed marriage. A Yad L’Achim activist, Rabbi Yoav Zeev Robinson, contacted the groom and arranged a meeting at his home. When he arrived he was surprised to see on the living room walls pictures of Rabbis, and asked who they were.
“These were my grandfathers,” the groom responded with pride, “they were important Rabbis.”
He described at length his relationship with his grandfathers and his deep respect for them. Rabbi Robinson seized the opportunity to pose a challenging question: “How would your grandfathers respond if they were told that you would end up marrying a non-Jew?”
Rabbi Robinson went on to describe the dedication of the man’s grandfathers in keeping the Torah and mitzvot during the most difficult times and how terrible it would be if he were to turn his back on his heritage. The words got through the young person’s defenses and touched his heart. He burst in tears, and announced that he would be canceling the wedding, difficult as it may be.
According to Yad L’Achim, they stood by the young man and his family throughout the complicated process of canceling the wedding on such late notice, and to date he has not regretted his decision.