Intermarriage Co-Officiation
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Intermarriage Co-Officiation

Whatever the rationalizations and justifications for officiating at in intermarriage when both parties have agreed to have a “Jewish” house, there is little that can justify “co-officiating” at an intermarriage (“Will Chelsea-Marc Union Weaken Co-Officiation Taboo?” Aug. 6).

 

The couples don’t care. They have decided that the marriage is more important than the religions. One rabbi has suggested that it is “premature” to conclude that they have decided to raise children in two faiths or that they have not made a decision. He is right. Indeed, such a conclusion is completely unwarranted. More likely are the possibilities that couples are satisfying the need to demonstrate that the parents have not failed, or to provide protective cover for potential guests who might be reluctant to attend an intermarriage conducted solely by clergy of another religion. Other possibilities include a struggle for power when one of the couple seeks clergy of his faith and the other demands “equal time.” 

 

Although the rabbi may have been correct about the prematurity of the conclusion, another of his statements contradicts Jewish tradition. That is his support of “the right of rabbis to do what they feel in their good conscience is best for the Jewish people and best for the couple.” We recently read the Torah portion of Re’eh, where we are enjoined, “You shall not do … whatever is right in [your] own eyes.” While the context relates to the setting up of altars, the stricture really deals with all of Jewish law. You do not make it up as you go along in order to suit circumstances and win friends and influence people. 

 

Should they “let the children decide,” or settle on a single religion in order not to confuse them, the kids will probably not be concerned over what clergy, if any, conduct their own wedding ceremonies. If they are at all perceptive they will already know that their parents don’t care.

 

 

Mount Vernon, N.Y.

 

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