“The Only Way to Really Win the Interfaith Debate is to Move Beyond It”

So writes Hannah Farber at JSpot responding to this piece from Reform Judaism Magazine. The article describes a young woman’s realization that as a child of interfaith parents, specifically of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother, though considered Jewish by Reform congregations, her legitimacy as a Jew in Jewish communal life, where she has become a young leader, is repeatedly called into question.

Should Reform parents and educators avoid the issue or prepare their youth for these likely encounters. And what’s the responsibility of Jewish communal professionals to value their COIP (Children Of Intermarried Parents), Jews by Choice, Jews of Color or adopted colleagues obvious commitment to Am Yisrael (the Jewish People)?

In the words of this blog entry’s title, Farber means we can’t convince halakhic (traditionally observant) Jews of the legitimacy of Reform’s recent (1985) innovation regarding patrilineal descent. Asking them to be sensitive emanates from a place of weakness, diminishing the power of our argument and ceding all authority to halakhic standards. I agree with Hannah: Prepare and move on. Educate others by our strength and confidence.

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