The idea that one must marry a Jew to be an effective Jewish leader, as argued in Jane Eisner’s recent editorial “Why We Shouldn’t Accept Rabbis Who Marry Non-Jews,” is outdated and counter productive to 21st century Judaism. Not only do intermarried Jewish leaders who already work in the Jewish community debunk stereotypes about Jews who fall in love with a “stranger,” they are exemplars for how to, in Eisner’s words, “offer bold ideas to make Judaism more accessible and welcoming, to strengthen commitment among those born Jews and encourage others to join.” Celebrating rabbis who intermarry is the way to walk the talk.
Some things are beyond me. I can understand a woman going to a sperm bank so she can have a child, and requesting a smart donor. That makes sense. I can even kind of understand a woman who, in contemporary Israel, chooses to have a blond and blue-eyed donor — assuming her wish stems from an awareness of the racism within Israeli society and a desire for her future child to have an easier life.
I’ve always been on guard around Don Francisco. Don Francisco was host of “Sabado Gigante”, the Spanish-language variety show which had its last show after 53 years on Univision this month. Don Francisco is tubby and grades women’s asses. Don Francisco is so loud, not afraid to embarrass me, some kind of ageless creepy uncle.
Last month, the Religious Courts Appointments committee met all day and into the night behind closed doors to determine who will be a dayan, a religious court judge in Israel. The good news for women is that 22 new dayanim will unlock the religious courts where the high number of judicial vacancies kept women from obtaining a Jewish divorce. For the past five years the appointment process has been frozen by politics.
The recent publication of “Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game” by Jon Birger and his accompanying piece in TIME has set off a flurry of discussion on demographics in dating. Josh Yuter’s response in the Sisterhood, for example, critically examined the so-called Shidduch crisis and found the argument wanting. I read his piece with great interest and mostly in agreement. I, as an individual, as a single person, am not a crisis. I do not believe my unmarried life to be a tragedy or a disaster — it is my life — my friends and my family, my home, my career, in fits and starts. We would do well indeed to start treating people as individuals and allow them to find their own happiness.