Last month, Adam and Edgar Bronfman spoke at the general assembly of the United Jewish Communities (UJC), an umbrella organization that includes 155 federations and over 400 independent Jewish communities across North America. They used the opportunity to address the assembly on what we as a community can do to open our doors to welcome everyone in our midst. The JTA’s Jacob Berkman filed a report in an online video feature.
Berkman explained that the Bronfmans’ top concern is “getting the mainstream organized world to recognize that the future of the non-orthodox Jewish community may in fact lay in its ability to bring intermarried couples back into the Jewish fold.” Edgar made a speech advocating for “a wide open tent, a great big tent just like Abraham and Sarah had,” adding that it’s time to not only accept intermarriage as a fact, but move past the issue once and for all.
Much of the Bronfmans’ motivation for being more open to intermarried families, Berkman said, is because Adam is an example of a successful interfaith marriage. Estranged from Judaism for many years, Adam told the crowd that when he and his wife married, they decided to raise Jewish children – and they are grateful they were able to find a community that offered classes and support. “Now we are a family of six proud Jews,” he said, referring to his wife and children. He continued later in the video:
I am a passionate believer that Judaism itself is and should be based on ideas, and that ideas are accessible to anybody. And that does not mean that there is not something unique about Judaism, there is. But that value is open to anybody, so if somebody chooses to marry a Jewish man or Jewish woman, if you choose to be in a relationship and the two of you choose to lead a Jewish life, the institutions that represent the larger community of Jewish life should be completely open to more and more people coming into that community.
As we have said many times before, we appreciate the candor with which Adam and Edgar Bronfman speak about potentially controversial issues within the Jewish community, and for doing so on such a large stage.