In Andrew Neft’s Jan. 15 letter to the editor, he says we should “reduce” intermarriage because it is hastening the decline of the liberal Jewish movements. He cites as an example a fellow employee who did not know what a yeshiva was even though he was “half-Jewish.” It is disappointing that someone with Jewish DNA does not even know what a yeshiva is, but Mr. Neft does not realize that it is the same attitude that he espouses which caused that to happen.
We were not told how old the employee is, but that man’s parents probably were married 25 to 40 years ago. Back then, no rabbi in Pittsburgh would marry an interfaith couple. More importantly, only the Reform congregations would accept that couple as members. Unfortunately, even that acceptance was more like tolerance in exchange for the dues and the opportunity to salvage the children from that marriage. People tend to avoid situations where they are not welcome. Human nature is funny that way. Perhaps that would explain the employee’s ignorance of anything Jewish.
My wife is a devout Catholic, but for 38 years she has attended Friday night Shabbat services with me, and she knows the Hebrew prayers. She enjoys making a Passover seder just as much as she enjoys making Holy Night supper. We were married once at Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church in McKees Rocks at 4 p.m., and a second time under the chuppah by Rabbi Sydney Berkowitz from Rodef Sholom in Youngstown, Ohio, at 6:30 p.m. We joined Temple Emanuel of the South Hills even though neither rabbi would marry us at that time. Immediately, some of the congregants were very welcoming, and that number grew.
You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.