In the early 1970s, while I was CEO of the Seagram Company, public dialogue about gay rights was largely nonexistent in corporate America. Social discourse had not yet even evolved into the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ethos that dominated the following decades. Homosexuality was simply not discussed and therefore, by implication, was shameful.
The danger to our community posed by growing numbers of ‘unaffiliated’ Jews is real. But addressing the problem may prove a great opportunity for all of us.
One of the great joys of my life is in the study of Jewish texts. Every time I read one, even if the story is familiar to me, I am grateful to be part of a religion that rewards questioning and debate and has such a rich literature that you can mine its depths again and again and still be rewarded with gems of knowledge.
Intermarriage has taken center stage this past year. The marriage of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvkinsky spurred a national conversation about intermarriage. The Rotem bill roiled Israel-Diaspora relations, sparking considerable debate over conversion policy and the question of how to incorporate the hundreds of thousands of Israelis from intermarried families into the Jewish people. Even “The Simpsons” weighed in when Krusty the Clown married a non-Jew.