This includes welcoming them into our synagogues and learning spaces and at our Shabbat tables, protecting them from communal alienation and fervently supporting their navigation of their family journey on a pastoral level.To be sure, I also am deeply concerned about Jewish assimilation and feel that the soul of American Jewry is at risk now: rampant materialism eclipsing spiritual values, nationalism prevailing over religion, tribalism over critical thinking, individualism over empathic community, virtual “I-it” relationships over “I-thou” relationships and an overemphasis on out-of-touch establishments over supporting new innovative approaches, to name just a few dangers.These holy souls are not only desired but needed for our community to flourish.
Ethnic Judaism typically operates under a fear mentality of survival, whereas values Judaism prioritizes actualizing our moral mission trusting that surviving followings thrive.
Those of us committed to halacha must not impose that upon others or use this holy instrument to as inclusive and welcoming as possible ensures that Jewish wisdom has its best chance of being a transformative moral and spiritual vehicle in a family’s life.
Many children of interfaith families have entered into Jewish leadership.
Sometimes the gentile parent supports a child’s Jewish journey even more than the Jewish parent.
” where one has a Jewish dimension to the soul even if the person is not deemed Jewish by halacha.
Or consider the spiritual paradigm that a convert always had a Jewish soul within them yearning for its unique expression.
I do, however, respect people’s choices, even when they differ from mine.
I write this not only as someone who intentionally engages countless interfaith families in Jewish programming but as someone born and raised within an interfaith family.
Had it not been for Jewish leaders and communities who embraced me so warmly, I would not have cultivated such a passionate Jewish identity, nor would I have entered a lifelong commitment to Jewish communal service.
Rather than shun interfaith families, let’s celebrate the unique contributions they bring to Jewish life, lest we lose those parents or their children from the Jewish community.