Intermarriage vs. Preserving
the Jewish Way of Life

by Rabbi Daniel Schur

The builders of Chelm were digging the foundation of the Synagogue, when one of them suddenly dropped his spade and stood still in profound meditation. "This earth that we are digging up - where are we going to put it?" "I have the solution," declared one Chelmite, "we dig a pit, and shovel into it all the earth we are digging up for the foundation of the Synagogue." "But what!!" he asked, "are we going to do with the earth that we will dig up from the second pit?" "Nothing is more simple!!" replied the wise man of Chelm. "We will dig a second pit, bigger than the first and shovel its own earth into it, as well as the earth of the first pit."

We realize that intermarriage is digging a pit in the heart of Jewish existence. The solution -- let us accept the intermarried couple into Judaism. Is this not digging a hole larger than the first? By accepting them, there is no longer a need to convert. Not saying that their conversions, in most cases, are not worth more than a Jewish pot of beans.

When I am approached by a potential interfaith couple, I am requested to convert a non Jew or Jewess. My reaction is, as a Rabbi - I have no business converting a non-Jew. I want to convert you, the Jew or the Jewess to discover Judaism, so that you won't need to search a life's partner out of your faith.

Patrilineal descent - accepting the child of a Christian mother as Jewish, is another solution by the wise men of Chelm. Calling the tail of a dog a leg, does not create a five legged dog.

The child of an unJewish mother is not Jewish. Acceptance does not solve a Jewish dilemma. Unfortunately, what so called liberal Jews fail to realize is, that the greatest enemy of the Jew is internal, not external.

Throughout Jewish history, far more Jews have succumbed to the blandishment of assimilation through mixed marriages, than have been victims of all Holocaust executions, expulsions, and progroms combined. Persecutions notwithstanding, were it not for mixed marriages and assimilation, there would be today well over one hundred million Jews in the world, not twelve million.

Moses Rosenfeld, one of the leaders at the Jews for Jesus movement, was reported as saying, "If I had the money, I would pay to send every American child to a Conservative or Reform Sunday school, or an afternoon Hebrew school, because it has proven to be the greatest turnoff of Jewish life." After their Sunday and Hebrew school experience, these Jews are easy prey for our Jews for Jesus missionaries.

Over one billion dollars, in capital expenses, are allocated for Holocaust memorials. Moneys pour in, as if the spigot would never close. Billions are being spent on Holocaust memorials for the dead, but only relative pennies on Jewish education for the living. The American Jewish community must choose "LIFE" by considering the following. Make certain that you and your children obtain the most intensive Jewish education possible. For most young, American Jews day school education is not an option. Jewish parents have been prejudiced into thinking that intensive Jewish education is too parochial and narrow, despite the fact that day school graduates go on to permanent positions of leadership in industry, government, finance and law. Intensive Jewish education - positive Jewish experiences observing rituals all need to be fostered.

Three thousand years of Jewish history is conclusive evidence that only ritual works to ensure Jewish survival. Celebrating Shabbos properly, keeping a Kosher home, practicing the purity of Jewish life, Mikveh, attending traditional synagogue regularly and - Yes - practicing honesty in business, and in all aspects of life - only this could stymie assimilation. Yes, we are Jews, but we have to ask - are we really Jewish?