Please, first read the article to which the below is a commentary: Maverick Rabbi Breaks Ranks Over Intermarriage.
Disclaimer: I’m an Orthodox Ba’al Teshuva (returner to Judaism) and know very little about Conservative Judaism. However, I still appreciate people leading where everyone else seems stuck. That halachac Jews generally are stuck on intermarriage is clear.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach did embrace also non-Jews at his Oxford Student Jews Club (whatever its name) but that’s not the same as officiating at an intermarriage.
What made me reflect deeper is that Rabbi Lau here wants to be nice to the Gentile partner and call them Joyim – Jews who are also Goyim. How about going the other way?
The motive not to reject such a couple is not to lose them altogether. But the naughty troublesome one is the Jew, not the Gentile. At least the latter loves a Jew! The problem does not lie with them!
Maybe we should only call someone marrying out a Joy – a Jew who’s also (behaving ) like a Goy.
Many of the Jews who fall in love with a non-Jew did not seek that – it seemingly just happened.
But, I think that many Jews marry only Jews for the wrong reason. They appear to marry Jews only, because they would not dare to trust a non-Jew. Now, this might cause intermarriage. How so?
If one, openly or subliminally, gives one’s children the message that Gentiles are less than wonderful, and such a child finds out that sometimes a non-Jew is magnificent, the best thing that ever happened to them, then they may tend to prove such parents wrong.
Only when we raise our children with the solid knowledge that Gentiles can be fantastic, they won’t be so surprised that they’ll have to marry them. And only then they can truly choose a Jewish spouse, instead of just going with the flow, or, awarely or subconsciously, rowing against this as rebellion.
I know there is a lot of Goyophobia among us. But the real problematic one here is the Jew who wants to marry out – not the non-Jew who wants to marry into our Tribe.
A trend with more and more intermarriage is a current given. Instead of trying to transform the non-Jewish partner, perhaps we should put emphasis on the out-marrying one, trying to get them to become more classically Jewish. Once s/he wants a committed-Jewish partner – not for rejection of Gentiles but rather for embracing full-blown Judaism to transmit to the next generation – the latter will follow their Jewish spouse’s wishes and convert – love conquers all. After all, love was the whole reason for them wanting to marry a Jew in the first place.
Let’s not give up on anyone, but put the emphasis of our concern where it should be.
An intermarriage ceremony could be just performed Jewish-style as a welcoming ceremony to the non-Jewish partner and that’s it.
Once the Jewish partner is ready to have a more Jewish life, there can be a wedding ceremony to celebrate the post-intermarried couple: a Jewish wedding ceremony for two Jewish partners.
After I wrote this, I found some similar thought: here.
Getting unstuck by reading Rabbi Lau’s thinking, I wanted to share what’s coming up in me. Not as my last word on the issue. Rather, my first thoughts on the subject. Let’s keep thinking!
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