Project Genesis

Relatives Not Attending Intermarriage

Question: Why can’t my aunts and uncles come to my Christian wedding with a Catholic woman—the love of my life?

Answer: It’s one of the rules. By having a Christian wedding, you are effectively (and surely unwittingly) taking out the Torah scroll of your Bar Mitzvah and trampling on it in public. Your children will not be Jewish in the eyes of Jewish law, and, therefore, 3,300 years of Jewish history ends with you. You are in love, and I’m sure your fiance is a wonderful person. But your decision to marry her is not something that a Jewishly-conscious Jew can publicly condone. I’m sure your aunts and uncles care for you and, on a personal level, have no hard feelings against either you or your fiance.

And I commend you for seeking to understand, rather than simply to react.

You may have made the decision to raise your children as Jews. For the Reform Movement, that would qualify them for membership in the Tribe. But not for more traditional Jews; not now, and not for 99 percent of Jewish history. Therefore, from a traditional perspective, you would be doing your children a disservice to raise them as Jews, once their mother isn’t Jewish. They would be in for a rude awakening when they grow up, and find that they are not considered Jewish by much of the Jewish People.

This is a very, very hard topic and I am very sympathetic. Please let me know if you’d like to discuss this further.

Rabbi Seinfeld

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