There’s a way to honor your mother and your faith.
**While the 2013 Pew survey uncovered some disturbing evidence of lower levels of Jewish engagement among young people, the same survey contains several pieces of good news for Reform Jews — 5,000 of whom are gathering this week in Orlando, Florida, for the movement’s biennial conference organized by the Union for Reform Judaism.
You absolutely need to talk to them.
I can tell you that “clinically,” you have little to worry about. Your daughter-in-law is Jewish (not Jew-ish, just Jewish). She identifies as a Jew and has a Jewish parent. Your son’s marriage is an in-marriage, a marriage between two incontestably Jewish Jews. Now, for Jewish child-rearing that’s a HUGE advantage.
You are right to be concerned about the melting of boundaries, but our real problems will not be worsened by some non-Jews practice teshuvah.
In short, if your daughter-in-law is uncomfortable with religion, she’s in the right place (well, the right family). She (and your daughter) can be as Jewish as they wish without necessarily construction their engagement as religious.
VIDEO: The number of active non-Orthodox Jews in America is shrinking. Sociologist Steven M. Cohen explains what each of us can do to reverse this trend and ensure the vitality of culture.
The goal is not a perfect wedding but a good Jewish home and family. Grandparents (may you be so blessed very shortly) can play a critical role in helping and inspiring their children and children-in-law to raise their grandchildren as Jews.
The rabbis of our congregations serve as “models of piety,” or so they are taught in rabbinical schools. Probably no other Jewish leader — even irreverent and iconoclastic social scientists of the Jews — are held to the same standard. More broadly, rabbis are supposed to embody the preferred aspirations for living Jewishly, while the rest of us get to exercise more latitude around our personal choices.
If Birthright’s goal is to encourage Jewish young people to build a relationship with Israel, why start in college? Steven M. Cohen says younger teens might get even more out of the program.