Talking to a couple of people this week made me write about FEAR.
Do not traffic in fear
Despite the fact that the Reform movement began inreach and outreach to interfaith couples in 1978 many people remain unaware that welcoming interfaith couples and families has grown stronger and more wide spread over the last 30+ years. It rapidly sprang up in Reconstructionist, Humanist and Renewal congregations. It has spread into Conservative shuls and has a soft spoken presence in Orthodox congregations. Jewish Community Centers and other agencies strive to offer welcoming, entry point programming. Yet I still hear people telling me that some Jew has told them that, (a) interfaith couples aren’t welcome… out there, (b) it will be hard to find a rabbi who performs interfaith weddings, (c) the other guys (the synagogue up the road, the JCC in the next town) are mean to interfaith couples.
STOP LISTENING TO THAT! Jews who say that are either ignorant, territorial or projecting their own reality. If you reside in the bay area, none of this is true. I have a long list of rabbis who perform interfaith weddings. It is more difficult if you want to get married on the Jewish Sabbath (Friday afternoon to Saturday at sundown). Why? Not because you are an interfaith couple, but because the vast majority of rabbis follow the guidelines of Jewish law which forbid certain acts (work) on the Sabbath. It isn’t about you; it’s about them being a Jew. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Don’t be afraid. Synagogues of all movements want you. JCCs want you. Agencies want you. The Jewish people is a PEOPLE. It is a family, a home. To quote Robert Frost, not a Jew, “Home is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in.” They may make you use a napkin or wash your hands, but Home Folks always take you in. Don’t forget that! Call me if you start to forget or doubt.