Saturday, October 27, 2012


I was sitting in synagogue minding my own business in the few moments between the end of the Torah service and the beginning of the d'var Torah ("sermon") when a fellow congregant and frequent attendee came over to me and whispered in my ear, "Shabbat Shalom, Shira Salamone."

As I said, eek!

For lack of a better alternative, I smiled and made a "keep it quiet"/"shhh" sign.  But I was pretty surprised, given that I've never even told any current congregant that I have a blog, much less my blog name or URL.

After the Musaf Kedushah prayer, when we were both out in the lobby, he waved me over so that we could have a private conversation, and explained.  Apparently, his father had seen complaints on the Internet that intermarried people weren't supposed to get aliyot or other kibbudim (honors involving being called to stand on the bimah during the Torah service).  So the party in question did an Internet search, and--my luck--came up with the one post that I wouldn't have wanted him to see.

I must say that he not only took it very well, he even asked whether there were any actual halachic texts forbidding an intermarried man to be given kibbudim.  He said that he's been given p'tichah on Yom Kippur, and also aliyot, in synagogues where his intermarried status is known, so he's curious.  My husband thinks it's all a matter of an individual synagogue's minhag/custom.  Please post a comment if you are aware of anything "official" that you can quote by chapter and verse, and/or by rabbi's name.  Thank you.  Now that this congregant has become a reader of my blog, I'm sure he'll be very interested in reading your replies.


Blogger Unknown said...

see Rabbi Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg (Seridei Aish 2:6) that states that it is forbidden for an intermarried person to be counted in a minyan.

Sun Oct 28, 12:41:00 AM 2012  
Anonymous Kid Charlegmagene said...

thanks matthew. well as they say, you don't ask a rabbi a question that you do not already know the answer to...

Sun Oct 28, 12:53:00 AM 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the linked article... must say, I was much stronger in my absolutes 3 years ago, and even wrote in a bit of Yiddlish then.. :)

But I think a clear line is:
1. non-egalitarian Shuls should shun intermarried Jews
2. egalitarian Shuls should not

If you are egalitarian, you should practice patrilineal descent, and not have any shunning, because there is no way to shun the parent of Jews.

The parents of young Jews should be welcomed into the Jewish community to bring their young Jewish children into it. If those young Jewish children only have one Jewish parent, we should double down on it, since they lack a Jewish parent of one gender to teach them.

Shunning the parent will push out the children, counter productive.

Therefore, non-egalitarian synagogues can have a policy of shunning men married to gentiles, while being welcoming of women married to gentiles, and avoid patrilineal descent. If you are egalitarian, you can't shun women, so might as well embrace patrilineal descent and go the whole way.

Sun Oct 28, 08:39:00 PM 2012  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Matthew, thanks for the citation.

Kid Charlemagne--another wiseguy heard from. :)

Miami Al, that's certainly a prospective that I wouldn't have expected to hear. Dealing with children of the intermarried is a real hot-button issue in Conservative congregations. Many Conservative shuls trying to work with non-Jewish mothers and their children are still pushing conversion of the mother and child. I think that's still the best alternative.

Mon Oct 29, 02:59:00 PM 2012  

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