A few items of interest on the intermarriage beat:
-Rivka T. Cohen has a heartbreaking article on Huffington Post about the shoddy treatment she’s gotten from some observant Jewish peers at her college Hillel. In “I Was Raised Orthodox, But I Am Not Considered ‘Jewish Enough’ To Keep The Sabbath,” Cohen, a senior at Princeton, writes about how her mother’s Conservative conversion — and by extension, Cohen’s authenticity — came under attack only when she got to college.
Yes, I know the traditional response: this is not her Orthodox classmates’ fault, but, rather is the fault of the Reform and Conservative movements for doing things their own way, rather than deferring to Orthodoxy. I don’t buy it. Whether or not one believes Cohen is halachically Jewish, one can and should treat her with respect and sensitivity. It never ceases to amaze me how so many Jews lament American Jewry’s disinterest in communal involvement, while at the same time pushing away eager participants like Cohen.
-And check out the latest from Lehava, an Israeli group whose main purpose seems to be preventing Jewish women from becoming romantically involved with Arabs, or other non-Jews. When I last wrote about them, Lehava activists were appearing before a Knesset committee, alongside Yad L’Achim, a group that conducts paramilitary rescues for unhappily intermarried Jewish women and their children who are living in Arab villages. Now, they’re getting a little creative, distributing on the streets of Jerusalem mock wedding invitations announcing the nuptials of a nice Jewish girl to a Mohammad.
According to Ynet’s translation, the "invitation" asks you to join Michal and Mohammad as they celebrate their marriage on a Friday night at the Shahid (martyr) events hall in Ramallah. Next to the invitation the ad reads: "If you don't want your daughter's wedding invitation to look like this then…Don't let her work with Arabs or do national service with non-Jews, don't let her work in place that employs enemies and don't bring home migrant workers…"
If my translation is correct, the rest of the flier says: “do good, guard [protect?] your daughter. We have enough problems …”
One does not have to be an advocate for the intermarried to find this shockingly offensive (not to mention ineffective). I am hardly calling for widespread Jewish-Arab intermarriage, although interestingly Brazil’s foreign minister, Antonio de Agular Patriota, did exactly that last week, citing intermarriage as a possible solution to the ongoing Mideast conflict:
While participating in a Q&A with AJC head honcho David Harris, Patriota said he was encouraged by all the intermarriage he saw between Jews and Arabs in Sao Paulo, remarking that “if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.”
Presumably he hasn’t yet been invited to Michal and Mohammad’s gala event in Ramallah.