If you can’t beat ’em, bless ’em? Not quite, but intermarriage rates have prompted more dialogue, less debate, among Jewish leaders lately. As I reported for Religion News Service yesterday, Reform Judaism’s clergy organization has formally adopted a more accepting attitude towards the “given” of interfaith marriage, though rabbis may still opt not to perform ceremonies between Jews and non-Jews. Conservative and Orthodox clergy still won’t officiate at such weddings, but future leaders of the Conservative movement did gather at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York recently to examine how to address the “issues of intermarriage and changing demographics,” so there’s an attitude shift happening there, too.
Meanwhlie, Chelsea Clinton’s engagement to Marc Mezvinsky, who comes from a prominent Jewish political family, has gotten the religious and secular press alike wondering whether she’ll be married under a chuppah, which would require her to either convert from Christianity or retain the services of a relatively liberal rabbi. (Ivanka Trump made headlines when she converted before her wedding to Jewish businessman Jared Kushner last year.)
In my years of convering interfaith issues and attending numerous mixed marriage ceremonies (including my own), I’ve concluded there’s rarely a solution that pleases everyone equally. These situations can get even more tense when you’re dealing with minority faiths, like Judaism, whose members have understandable concerns about assimilation. But, with two political families involved here, an interesting reconciliation may be in the works. Thoughts?