While reaching out to intermarried couples is important, one writer says this does not ensure that children down the line will remain connected to Jewish life. Two others voice support of a recent op-ed calling for the inclusion of gay children in Orthodox Judaism.
Is Having Jewish Grandchildren Our Only Goal?
American Jewry should reach out to intermarried couples to make them feel comfortable in our Jewish community because it is the right thing to do for both the Jewish spouse and the non-Jewish spouse (Cover story: “Intermarriage Debate Reignites,” Feb. 13).
But we Conservative and Reform Jews should not delude ourselves into thinking that, by doing so, the grandchildren of intermarried couples will consider themselves Jews. In fact, we should not delude ourselves into thinking that our grandchildren will consider themselves Jews.
If our only goal is to have Jewish grandchildren, then we Conservative and Reform Jews should fake it and become Orthodox Jews. But that is not our only goal. We also want to live Jewish lives that make us feel comfortable. Unfortunately, that means having non-Jewish grandchildren.
But there is a more serious and more fundamental issue in the debate over intermarriage than whether or not to reach out to intermarried couples: What does it say about Judaism and religion in general that makes “life in an open society” such a threat?
We don’t see large numbers of Jews converting to join the overwhelming Christian majority in this country. Rather, what we see are Jews and Christians alike turning away from their religions. Evidently, in our free marketplace of ideas, religion is just not a very attractive product.
Steve Mendelsohn | Penn Valley
Federation Reaching out to LGBT Community
As vice chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s fundraising campaign, I read Sunnie Epstein’s wonderful op-ed (Opinion: “Don’t Exclude Our Gay, Orthodox Children,” Feb. 20.) with interest and delight. I applaud Sunnie and her family for their openness, inclusiveness and passion.
Federation has just launched a LGBT affinity group with great success, and we will be hosting our first event on March 5.
At Federation, our hope is to always be inclusive and engaging of all members of our community, involving everyone where they feel most comfortable — fund raising, social responsibility, Jewish continuity and education, programs in Israel, mitzvah projects, on and on. Jewish Family and Children’s Service already offers many services to the LGBT community, and with both increased dollars and involvement, we look forward to doing so much more in the future.
Ellyn Golder Saft | Bryn Mawr
Why Can’t We At Least Accept Each Other?
As Jews, we should welcome everyone into our community. Gay, straight, intermarried, it should not matter. It has to be so difficult for this family to know that so many people in their Modern Orthodox community will never accept their daughter’s sexual orientation. (Opinion: “Don’t Exclude Our Gay, Orthodox Children,” Feb. 20.)
We are already hated by so many people in this world because of our religion. Why can’t we at least accept each other unconditionally?
Susan Kaizen | Warrington