Pressure usually makes a person less willing to convert, or else less than enthusiastic even if they do convert.
As anyone who has actually been married will attest, no matter how in love you are, no matter how fantastic your confidence or communication skills, no matter how well your parents raised you, a good marriage is hard work.
While some insist that you are Jewish if you personally believe you are, Judaism has always been a communal venture.
An ideal rabbi is one who models Jewish living, in every sense. A true spiritual leader challenges people out of their comfort zones rather than simply making them comfortable with their choices.
You can’t begin to help him navigate this until you and your spouse know exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
The decision whether to speak out ultimately is yours. However, there are a few variables to consider. If the organization focuses on outreach or continuity – particularly if it is Conservative or Orthodox – then this might be an issue, and hiding it might create greater problems down the road. But I suspect, from your description, that you likely work for a Jewish communal organization such as a Federation or social service agency – Jewish communal organizations typically apply the broadest possible definition of Jewishness.
Like you, I dislike mixing relationships and politics. Unfortunately, you have wrapped your ostensible relationship issue entirely in politics, so a political response is appropriate.
I correspond regularly about religion with a wonderful Evangelical Christian friend. In our always-respectful dialogue, we each understand our commonalities, and where our faiths are mutually exclusive. For me, the Torah has the last word 365 days a year. For him, Jesus is messiah and son of God 365 days a year.
Earlier this week, Gayle Redlingshafer Berman wrote about mourning the loss of a non-Jewish parent. Today we hear from Gayle’s co-author, her husband Harold Berman, the former Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Gayle and Harold are the co-authors of “Doublelife: One Family, Two Faiths and a Journey of Hope.” Their blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:
Allowing rabbis to marry outside the faith would show inclusivity. But one rabbi explains why it’s important to protect the boundaries of Judaism — and what he did to prove it.