Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Rabbinic In-Tray - A Masorti Attitude Towards Non-Jewish Partners



I recently received the following e-mail (reworded a little to ensure anonymity).

What is a Masorti view on Jews with non-Jewish partners – and their partners.

My response is below.




My enquiry is really to find out the Masorti view on intermarriage. My partner is not Jewish and I no longer feel that I can go to the Orthodox Shul that I am familiar with. Is Masorti an option for me? I do not want to lose my Jewishness, but of course neither do I wish to lose my partner.....Perhaps I should contact Reform ? I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time




Many thanks for being in touch.

You ask interesting questions.


Let me tell you a bit about how I engage with the issue of non-Jewish partners and offer a chance to speak or meet. I’ll speak personally, but you should expect something similar from the community I lead and the Movement I am part of.


I understand the problem of Jews marrying non-Jews from both Halachic and societal bases. Certainly it is far easier for two Jewish partners to create a Jewish home together, especially if and when there are children, than for an inter-faith couple. It’s also forbidden as a matter of Jewish Law.


I know there are Jews who fall in love with non-Jews and I know that for those people that relationship is good and hugely important.


I know that for many of these people falling in love with a non-Jew is not the same thing, at all, as giving up on Judaism and a good number of Jews, married to non-Jews – and even a good number of non-Jews married to Jews – show remarkable levels of commitment to maintaining and developing their own Jewish involvement and that of their children. I also know that many Jewish couples who fail to maintain let alone develop their Jewish involvement. Neither marrying ‘in’ or marrying ‘out’ guarantee anything.


As a community we have a number of families with one Jewish and one non-Jewish parent. We do our best to offer both parties to the relationship the warmest of welcomes. We do our best to educate any children of these families as well as we can. For what it is worth there is no question of denying aliyot and/or other kibbudim to members with non-Jewish partners. In general, as a community, we don’t go in for pointing fingers, calling names or behaving in a judgemental manner.


We also have a fabulous conversion programme. For non-Jews who have ‘thrown their lot in’ with a Jewish partner it’s invariably something that many think about, but there can be nervousness about discussing it. You should discuss it, and if you or your partner want to take that conversation forward, please have a look at

And be in touch with me.


Is that helpful, at least to open a conversation?

If you are more interested in the community you should come for a Shabbat, or Friday evening meal, or we can arrange a meeting,


Very best wishes,


Rabbi Jeremy


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