Sunday, December 13, 2009

Intermarriage Issues

HolidayMenorahTree A Xmas Menorah Tree

Here are two excellent audio files on the issue of Intermarriage.

The first, by Rav Ari Kahn is more appropriate to secular and unaffiliated Jews and recognises that assimilation has taken its toll and nowadays in America and Britain, intermarriage is no longer viewed with the shock and dismay it once was. This is either because secular Jews have simply got used to it as a fact of life or because they are scared that if they open their mouths and express opposition then they will be accused of being racist.

Even if one has no problem with the idea of intermarriage or even if one has already decided to marry someone who is not Jewish, it is highly recommended to listen to the recording just to learn about the possible problems that you will most likely encounter but that have never crossed your mind.


Click on the line below to open the download window.
Rav Ari Kahn - Issues of Intermarriage

Then click either on the picture of the blue note or use the Download button.

The second audio file is by Rav David Orlofsky. It is aimed more at traditional Jews who have had a minimum of Jewish education, whose emotional connection to Judaism is strong but they have no knowledge to back this up. The first 3 minutes or so are a bit dry but then Rav David Orlofsky warms up and the rest of the talk is hilariously funny but at the same time communicates a serious and profound message.

Follow the instructions for downloading as above.

Here is the link:
Rav David Orlofsky - Why be Jewish?

My own thoughts on the subject

In truth, once someone has decided to marry a non Jewish person, no arguments will convince them. One cannot go back in time and correct the damage of 20+ years of not having a proper Jewish education and understanding what it means to be Jewish. The sad fact is that this Jew has never been given the opportunity to see what a beautiful treasure he or she is throwing away.

What about the more traditional members of the family?

How should they react to an intermarriage in the family? Well certainly you should make it clear to the person marrying out that for you, it it not a cause for celebration. It is in fact a tragedy.

Despite the pressure that the Jewish parents might put upon other members of the family to come to the Wedding party (or even to the ceremony itself), you should certainly not put your silent stamp of approval by attending. However, you should endeavour to keep in constant contact with the member of family who has intermarried and let them know that if8 their marriage fails then you will be there for him or her to give advice and support.

8 Actually, it shouldn't be “if” but “when”! Statistics in America and the UK show an 80% failure rate for Intermarriage couples within the first 10 years. Far higher than even the shocking statistics for the national average.

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