Rabbis Talk About Intermarriage
By Gary A. Tobin and Katherine G. Simon
What Do Rabbis Really Think And Feel About Intermarriage?
Nearly all Jews have an opinion and all Jews have a stake concerning intermarriage. Each member of the tribe is considered precious and irreplaceable. Passions about intermarriage, debates about how to prevent it or reap benefits from its consequences have at their core a genuine concern about group survival. Rabbis are by definition at the center of these issues. Rabbis face daily decisions about whether or not to perform wedding ceremonies with intermarried couples, how to counsel interfaith couples, what they will teach their congregants about intermarriage, and how interfaith families fit into the synagogue.
"Gary Tobin and Kathy Simon have placed their trained ears against the door of the rabbi's study and penetrated the whispered conversations between those who seek counsel and officiation of those who seek interfaith marriages. With empathic intelligence they examine the ambiguities and ambivalences that confront the rabbi who is torn by seemingly conflictive loyalties. Beyond sociological analysis, the authors propose programs, strategies and attitudes worthy of serious consideration at Rabbinical Seminaries, Synagogue Institutions and concerned laity. I have profited much from the comprehensiveness and lucidity of this important book."
- Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, Rabbi, Valley Beth Shalom, author of For Those Who Can't Believe
"Tobin and Simon have written a balanced and substantial examination of the practices and attitudes of American rabbis toward intermarriage today. The broadest and most thorough contemporary look at the diverse rabbinic response to intermarriage and the conflicts it has produced, this work will be of importance to sociologists, rabbis and all Jewish communal leaders."
- Rabbi David A. Teutch, President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
"This book is an extremely important resource for American Jewish leaders. It sheds calm light on the complex feelings with which rabbis deal with intermarriage and the intermarried. It presents wise and comprehensive recommendations to guide us out of fear and confusion and into positive engagement with creating leadership which can build a vital Jewish community for the 21 st Century."
- Rabbi Rachel Cowan, Director, Jewish Life Program, Nathan Cummings Foundation