Virtual Talmud

I am surprised and disturbed by the tone of Rabbi Grossman’s post stating her opposition to allowing non-Jews to be buried with their Jewish spouses in a Jewish cemetery. She writes: “Let us… not undermine the final resting places of those who currently rest in peace.” It almost appears that Rabbi Grossman believes that the souls of those buried in a Jewish cemetery will catch cooties from the presence of a non-Jew buried nearby.

I understand Rabbi Grossman’s concerns about the current levels of intermarriage, but I also think that threatening to separate a couple in death who have been together in life will just alienate both members of the couple and won’t serve as a practical dis-incentive. There are many reasons people choose not to convert and this does not mean that they are working against the interests of the Jewish people or the Jewish community. On the contrary, they can often be active partners in raising Jewish families, supporting Jewish rituals and observances, and building Jewish community. If someone wishes to be buried in a Jewish cemetery I believe they are affirming their intent in death as in life to be fellow travelers: people who love and support the Jewish people and our communities.

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