Celebration & Renewal: Rites of Passage in Judaism

By Rela M. Geffen | Go to book overview

STEPHEN C. LERNER


Choosing Judaism
Issues Relating to Conversion

Not so long ago, when an intermarriage occurred, a Jewish family might have sat shivah for the renegade. In earlier generations, the commandment of "do not intermarry" was the most important one the Jewish family conveyed to its young. But in our own day, intermarriage is so common that Reform rabbis who refuse to officiate at such weddings may be rejected for attractive pulpits or be subject to serious pressure to reverse their stands. Recently, a Conservative woman expressed outrage that her own marriage to a non-Jew, with a rabbi and minister officiating, would not be recorded in the synagogue bulletin, even though she knew that mixed marriage was considered unacceptable by her movement. What has led to this overwhelming change?

As of 1985, one in two Jews marrying has married a non-Jew, and in 95 percent of cases the partner did not convert to Judaism.1 This rise of intermarriage threatens the quality and numerical future of the Jewish community, which has already been weakened by the growth of secularization and assimilation, leading many born Jews to regard Judaism as irrelevant to contemporary life. In short, intermarriage has become a major cause of hand-wringing as well as the instigator of sociological and outreach strategies designed to counter the trend.

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Celebration & Renewal: Rites of Passage in Judaism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 3
  • Be Fruitful and Multiply - Issues Relating to Birth in Judaism 12
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 31
  • Parents as Partners with God - Parenting Young Children 32
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 52
  • From Bar/Bat Mitzvah Through the Teen Years - Challenges to Parent and Community 53
  • Notes 70
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 70
  • Choosing Judaism - Issues Relating to Conversion 71
  • Notes 88
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 88
  • Marriage - Judaism's "Other" Covenantal Relationship 90
  • Notes 122
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 130
  • Midlife - From Understanding to Wisdom 132
  • Notes 147
  • The Altar Weeps" - Divorce in Jewish Law 151
  • Introduction 151
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 166
  • Bikkur Ḥolim - Sickness in Jewish Law 167
  • Notes 196
  • The Crown of Glory - Aging in the Jewish Tradition 202
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 223
  • Death and Mourning - A Time for Weeping, A Time for Healing 226
  • Conclusion 249
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 249
  • Glossary 252
  • Contributors 258
  • Index 261
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