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At the same time, after years of discrimination, Jews were finally being included in mainstream American life, which has led to a more blended population … When I was growing up in Queens, one of the suburban boroughs of New York City, the neighborhood was very ethnic and predominantly Jewish.
As he put it, an increasing number of Jews are recognizing that “intermarriage is a fact of life, as gravity is.” In the 1970s, when large numbers of American Jews began choosing non-Jewish partners, the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis maintained its official opposition to intermarriage but decided to allow its rabbis to choose for themselves whether to preside at such weddings.
That change did not sit well with many, even within Reform Judaism.
“It is a capitulation to unfortunate social realities, a demonstration not of leadership but, sadly, of followership.” For his part, Gardenswartz said he is glad he asked his congregants about presiding at intermarriages.
And while they decided they didn’t want to flout the Conservative movement, Temple Emanuel has changed its approach to interfaith couples connected to the synagogue, treating them like Jewish-Jewish couples in every respect except the marriage ceremony.
Urbanites can take for granted the 24/7 availability of Jewish food, theater, educational and cultural organizations and houses of worship.
Small towners may feel the unique bond that exists in a tight-knit, minority community. Varying perceptions by non-Jews and a wide range of self-definition by Jews.“Then it became just who we are,” Jacobs continued.“Our emphasis has always to be on opening those doors, not wagging our fingers but opening our arms.” Not only in moral terms, but in practical terms, the Reform movement reasons that non-Jewish spouses must be embraced because they can be valued members of the community and partners with their spouses in raising Jewish children.These factors raise issues in every facet of Jewish life, including dating.After World War II, Jews everywhere were reeling from the Nazi slaughter of 6 million European Jews.But not everyone is so convinced that the teens’ vote and the demise of Gardenswartz’s proposal simply reinforce the status quo.