2017-10-25 / World News

Conservative movement continues intermarriage ban, but urges welcome

The Conservative movement will maintain its ban on rabbis performing interfaith marriages while seeking to welcome couples who are already intermarried, according to a new letter signed by the movement’s four leaders.

The letter addressed to the centrist movement’s clergy, educators and leaders, follows a summer when a few prominent Conservative rabbis announced that they would begin officiating at intermarriages. It does not represent a change in the movement’s policy or practice of Jewish law.

“We affirm the traditional practice of reserving rabbinic officiation to two Jews,” the letter reads, adding that the movement’s leaders “are equally adamant that our clergy and communities go out of their way to create multiple opportunities for deep and caring relationships between the couple and the rabbi, the couple and the community, all in the context of welcome and love that extends well before the moment of the wedding and well beyond it too.”

The letter was written by Rabbi Bradley Artson, dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, and co-signed by Arnold Eisen, the chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary; Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, CEO of the Conservative Rabbinical Seminary; and Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

Since 2000, more than 70 percent of non-Orthodox Jews have married non- Jewish partners, according to the Pew Research Center’s 2013 study of American Jewry. The other major Jewish denominations in the United States are split on the issue: the Reform movement allows intermarriage and the Orthodox prohibits it. (JTA)

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