Letters to the Editor: Debating Coverage of Interfaith Relationships

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Interfaith Relationships No Call for Celebration
As we settled in to the read the Dec. 10 issue, we were surprised and disappointed that there was such a large [article] (“Interfaith Couples Navigate Unusual Holiday Season”) highlighting the diversity of intermarried couples — a sizable percentage of whom were celebrating Chanukah and Christmas. Is this really a call for celebration?

If the author was trying to write a “feel good” story it may have had the reverse effect. Jewish people make up a very small percentage of the U.S. population, especially in comparison to those celebrating non-Jewish holidays. Due to this, it is just so much easier to be part of the mainstream religious celebrations and that is what so many of these couples will do. And studies show that couples who raise their children with both religions will very likely no have Jewish grandchildren, so who are we kidding?

Perhaps the Exponent will soon be listing baptisms, confirmations, et cetera and will still be calling itself “The Jewish Exponent.” Let’s not bring out the champagne just yet.
We no longer feel there is a reason to continue to read or support the publication if the publication paints a picture so anathema to the tenets of Judaism.


Bette Klein | Philadelphia

Torah Illuminates Current Context
I fully agree with Rabbi Jason Bonder’s notion that each year we read Torah and may well find something new, a Chidush, in the stories (“Same Words, Different Meaning,” Dec. 24).

I agree, too, that the context provided by the year 2020 or any other year potentially changes one’s reading. Still, any given context may be understood differently by different readers.

For me, someone who has been disturbed greatly by the outgoing administration, in general, and by the president’s behavior, in particular, I read it differently. My reading of Joseph’s dreams —The Sun and the Moon and the Eleven Stars are bowing down to me and an analogous agrarian one in which sheaves bow down to him — are symptomatic of what occurs when one child (Donald?) is favored by a father (Fred) who had to himself be the chosen one (achieved by any means), in both birthright and blessing.

Joseph’s inner world is one where others have no particular existence, no subjectivity, except in their relationship to him. The dream’s faceless dancers, representing the brothers, are just nondescript stars or sheaves and are not permitted, in the dreams, to interact. They are not seen as persons in their own right.

Years ago, a psychiatrist in a class I was teaching asked me for a book on parenting. I suggested that she read Torah and wonder about the sequelae of the showing of favoritism and that she might consider doing just the opposite. Joseph’s tormenting of his brothers — both before and in Egypt — serve as proof for me of the toxic effects of such parenting, just as the “Presidency of a Chosen Rich Kid Who Would be Emperor” convinces me of the dangers of preferential parenting, in general.

Howard Covit | Elkins Park

We Must Be More Inclusive
Letter-writer Bette Klein comments on an article you published, “Interfaith Couples Navigate Holiday Season” (Dec. 10), and the effect on Jewish grandchildren. She fails to understand reality.
I’m an older mom who never would have considered marrying a non-Jewish man. Times have changed. I have two sons. One married Jewish, the other not. I love my sons, and I love their wives. They are all wonderful parents, and I have four grandkids. In today’s world, we must be more inclusive because we have to. I can’t reject my son, and I have to accept his choices, including not having Jewish grandkids.

The reality is that lots of Jews are marrying out, some raising their kids Jewish and some not. In my case, they’re not raising their sons Christian or Jewish, just to be good and ethical people. I can’t ask for anything more.

Susan Yemin | Westfield, New Jersey

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