Yesterday, I attended a session with Rabbi Chuck Simon, the Executive Director of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, a group affiliated with the Conservative Movement.
At the session, we discussed their Keruv project, designed to have intermarried families feel more welcomed in Conservative synagogues. Overall, it sounds like a nice project, especially with the rising number of intermarried families who will want to join synagogues.
The fact is that soon, the Jewish community will no longer be able to tell kids that it is wrong to intermarry because they themselves will be products of intermarried families. While the Reform and Reconstructionist Movements are very welcoming of intermarried couples, the Conservative Movement is in somewhat of a conundrum trying to balance their opposition to intermarriage while still being friendly and open to intermarried couples.
This was my main criticism I posed at the session.Â In the end of the day, the movement is basically humoring their intermarried families.Â Sure, they come to shul and can be members of the board, etc.Â But in the end of the day, not only will the rabbi not officiate at an intermarriage wedding, but he isn’t even allowed to attend the ceremony!
Now, I’m not making any judgement as to which way the movement should go.Â But it just seems that the movement is trying to cope with a 2008 issue with policies from the 1980s. The issues concerning intermarriage twenty years ago are very different than they are today and the movement really needs to catch up in order to be relevant in intermarried people’s lives.