I continue to be amazed by the discussion in the community raised by the Noah Feldman article that appeared in the New York Times Magazine. Many journalists and community leaders have weighed in on the article. I really think that associate editor of the (New York) Jewish Week Jonathan Mark summed it up rather nicely. Mark suggests that the Jewish community has two options: either to strategically hug those who have intermarried; or to give them the cold shoulder.
He also seems to suggest that the signs are in favor of institutions doing more to welcome interfaith families, including Orthodox synagogues:
One Modern Orthodox shul in New York, with more than 700 members, now welcomes a non-Jewish father and non-Jewish grandparents to the bima for non-ritual moments during Shabbat morning bar mitzvahs, if the mom is Jewish.
He also indicates that the glass ceiling is being broken in institutions that previously would not have welcomed those who have intermarried into top leadership positions:
Clal’s next chair, explained Rabbi [Irwin] Kula, will be Larry Gellman who intermarried later in life, after raising children in the Jewish community. “He’s demonstrated Jewish leadership not only within Clal,” said Rabbi Kula, but within his Reform temple and as chair of the Milwaukee federation. “He did not intermarry as an escape from his Jewishness or as a step to assimilating. We talked about this as an organization. We didn’t say anything goes.”
We welcome the news as good news. (But please be careful to avoid using phrases like “riddled with intermarriage” if you want to persuade us that we are really becoming more of a welcoming community.) Let’s continue the dialogue. It’s our best option. Those who have intermarried will help shape the Jewish future and the future is already upon us.