The Last Non-Intermarrying Reform Rabbi

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(by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com)

According to a survey reported in the Forward combined with this author’s mathematical calculations – it will happen in nine years and 20 days – on August 29th, 2027.

On that day, statistically speaking, there will only be one lone Reform or Reconstruction Rabbi that will still refuse to perform an intermarriage.  Just one.

In 1995, a survey reported that overall 47% of Reform and Reconstruction Rabbis would conduct an intermarriage ceremony.  That was 23 years ago.

In the latest edition of the Forward in an article by Ari Feldman, a poll showed that 85% of Rabbis from Reform and Reconstruction Rabbis would perform an intermarriage.

THE MATH

In the past 23 years then, the rate of these Rabbis willing to sell the farm has increased from 47% to 85%.  In a straight line progression that means each year the number increases by slightly more than 1.65%.  Since there are approximately 2600 Rabbis who fit into this category (2300 Reform and 300 Reconstruction) – the last liberal Rabbi would constitute the last .04 percent.

The date of the last holdout liberal Rabbi will therefore be in nine years and 20 days.  Of course this prediction is making several assumptions – that the two polls were similarly conducted and that there will be a linear progression, and that there will be no growth in the number of liberal Rabbis – but intelligent people will get the basic point.  The liberal wing of Rabbis is going nowhere fast.

But let’s not kid ourselves.  And while in our world, Boruch Hashem, there are no Rabbanim who are willing to perform an intermarriage, the scourge of intermarriage does exist in our world too, rachmana litzlan.  It is heart-wrenching when one sees a Yeshiva graduate or a former Bais Yaakov girl who is about to intermarry.

WHAT TO DO – SEVEN THOUGHTS

There are a few things that go a long way in keeping our children on the right path.

  1. We should truly live the idea of ivdu es Hashem b’simcha – serving Hashem out of love.
  2. We should never outgrow telling our children that we love them and doing so regularly. This should be from fathers as well as mothers.
  3. We should take pride in our children and tell them that we take pride in them. We have to build their self-esteem with correct things and it should not be dependent on them following a certain line or path.
  4. Children need what is known in Hebrew as “eedud” – the knowledge that they are doing a great job. We have to tell them this.  They need to hear it and not just hear from us when they are doing something wrong.
  5. Our children have to know that we are there for them. They have to know that, yes, we will drive them to where they have to go and that we always have their back.  When they need us – we have to be there and they have to know that we will always be there for them.
  6. Our children need to feel that they are appreciated. We need to tell them that we are so proud that they are our children.  And it must be real.
  7. And finally, there is Tefilah – praying to Hashem that our children find the right and correct path.

The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com

If you would like to read Rabbi Hoffman’s other article today about Druze, Israel and Halacha – click here.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. you make a common halakhic error assuming linearity. the world is much more complex than that and torah can relate eternally to the changes society makes. but predicting is no longer the job of prophets

  2. “predicting is no longer the job of prophets

    Does the term
    חכם עדיף מנביא ואיזה חכם הרואה את הנולד
    Sound familiar?

  3. There are 2 women in Brooklyn who are reform “rabbis” and they aren’t even Jewish. They are reform converts. So their performing intermarriages is no different than a judge or self ordained marriage officiant.

  4. gaon, very familiar. what defines a chacham is the ability NOT to extrapolate linearly, but integrate expected feedback effects. linear extrapolation is not the hallmark of the wise

  5. Great article. I think you should add 1 more point Ahavas Yisroel. Respect fellow Yidden and DONT belittle or mock them to your children because of different minhagim etc.

  6. Yaakov doe
    There is no mafka mina who it is who performs the “marriage” since there is no real marriage here to begin with. You may as well try marrying a Jew with a donkey… It’s not halachically binding.

  7. Ysiegal, you are making a circular argument that convinces those who already agree with you. a non-affiliated jew will see a rabbi marrying a jew and non-jew as giving his seal of approval, as anti-halakhic as it might be, to the couple.

    no one will react that way if you marry a donkey, except perhaps bilaam