Oh Conservative Movement, you continue our love-hate relationship.
Today I hate you.
The movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards recently passed a teshuva (response paper) addressing how many children Jewish couples should have:
The world’s Jewish community has not recovered numerically from the devastating losses during the Nazi era. Demographic studies point to a Jewish birthrate that will not maintain the Jewish population in the United States, with serious implications for the future of the American Jewish community, the Jewish people as a whole, and Judaism itself. It is essential that we encourage fertile Jewish couples to have at least two children in compliance with the early Halacha, and one or more additional children, who are mitzva children in the additional sense that they help the Jewish people replace those lost in the Holocaust and maintain our numbers now. Adopting children, converting them to Judaism, if necessary, and raising them as Jews helps in this effort as well.
Why the term ‘mitzva children’? Both because having more than two children is mandated by later Jewish law and also because in our day the term mitzva is used by Jews to describe ‘good deeds.’ In a sense, Jews are saying that they feel commanded by God to do the right thing, that which they feel God would want them to do in the situation. Every couple who has at least a third child should feel that that child is a mitzva child in this sense, for the parents are not only replacing themselves as minimally commanded, but making an additional contribution to assuring that the Jewish people will survive to help to fulfill God’s plan for the world. (MORE)
Ugh. I can imagine it now.
“Hi. My name is Meredith. This my husband Ben. And these are our three children: Larry, Moe, and our mitzva child–Curly.”
Or better: “No Curly, you weren’t an accident. You were a mitzva.”
(Hat tip to Jspot)