Earlier this summer, we blogged about an initiative from the Central Conference of American Rabbis (the organizing body of Reform Movement rabbis) to take a new approach toward addressing the opportunities and challenges of interfaith marriage. In its June newsletter, it was explained that the CCAR wants to initiate “programs to guide and support its members in the critical work of welcoming intermarried families into the Jewish community through the work of a specially appointed Task Force.”
Since the announcement, the CCAR Task Force on Intermarriage has been meeting monthly via conference calls. Most recently, according to a CCAR newsletter, “the Task Force has divided itself into four research teams.” Each team has a subject and a mission, which includes gathering materials to help rabbis: provide effective pre- and post-marital counseling for intermarried couples, encourage Jewish engagement and conversion of non-Jewish spouses not committed to another faith, provide “beautiful and spiritually meaningful rituals and liturgy,” and communicate their “stance” on officiation/engagement of interfaith couples to lay people. Our own executive director, Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, has been asked to consult with each of these teams.
This Task Force is a bold move toward creating a Jewish community that truly welcomes and engages interfaith couples. Since the teams are in an exploratory phase, the CCAR is eager to hear from people who have “a practice or model that works effectively in one of these areas.” In our effort to promote a more welcoming and inclusive North American Jewish community that embraces intermarried families and unengaged Jews, and encourages their increased participation in Jewish life, we turn the question to you: What are your experiences? Do you have an idea that can help the CCAR?