Thursday, November 07, 2013

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Raising Children as Jews and Something Else, #2

The New York Times decided the topic of Jewish mixed marriages should be the editorial focus of the week, with the Opinion title “Raising Children in Two Faiths”. What they really meant was “Raising Children as Jews and Something Else”.

Let’s take a look-see with a bit of fisking. Here’s letter #2…

To the Editor:

As a Jewish and Hindu couple with a “HinJew” son, we believe that Western religions have been asking the wrong question to ensure “continuity.” It’s not “whom you marry” but “how you raise.”

- Yet another round of Western “it’s now how things are, it’s how we choose to think it is”.

We aren’t raising our son to be “partly Jewish” or “partly Hindu.” Rather, we’re raising him to be 100 percent both. For some, particularly adherents to Western religions, that math doesn’t add up. But faith, by definition, is not always logical or rational.

- Umm, indeed that doesn’t add up to Judaism.  And religions that have incompatible foundational concepts, which would basically be all of them – otherwise they wouldn’t be separate religions, aren’t going to magically merge into a coherent functional system.  The result isn’t going to be non-logical or non-rational, it’s going to be either non-compatible or schizophrenic.

If Jews are truly to “love the stranger,” as directed to do throughout the Torah, then surely Jewish leaders and institutions can embrace loving, marrying and procreating with someone of another faith. Failure to do so will further marginalize those of us in mixed marriages who are committed to Jewish continuity.

BEN (redacted Jewish last name) & MALA (redacted Indian/Hindu last name), Calif

- Here we see a failed Jewish education come to the fore.   First grade religious concepts generalized as adult positions.  There is no “love the strange” throughout the Torah.  There is ahavas yisroel, love of your fellow, and the instruction to do unto others as you would have done unto you.  There is, however, equally as strong instruction to not follow the ways of the strangers, not separate oneself from the community and one’s people, and not to follow after other gods.

The combination means be a good and kind people building a solid community or tribe by following the ways of G-d and His Torah.  We are kind to others and will accept strangers who choose to follow our ways.

Sadly Ben has marginalized himself by separating from the community by choosing a mother for his children from another religion and tribe.

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