Talk of Senators Joe Lieberman or Dianne Feinstein being Al Gore’s running mate has raised the possibility of, at long final, a Jewish President. One problem is religious observance. Senator Lieberman is Orthodox and doesn’t focus on Saturdays. He’s got reassured people that the Torah commands one to do duties that are one’s. In a crisis, he’d be there.
That seems like a no-brainer to me. The greater interesting real question is intermarriage. We are now living in times of enforced tolerance. George W . Bush was strung up for visiting Bob Jones University, which possessed a policy against interracial relationship. Just what exactly in regards to the policy that is dating conservative Jewish businesses: the strict stance against intermarriage?
This is simply not one thing anybody is supposed to speak about. Non-Jews give these issues berth that is wide. And individuals like myself, who’ve intermarried, are sufficiently ashamed about their choice–hastening the destruction associated with the Jewish people, we’re told–that they rarely speak up to defend it, unless it is in the Steve and Cokie Roberts mode of insisting (significantly hollowly to my mind) in their guide using this Day Forward that they’re preserving Jewish tradition by having big Seders.
Yet because the Bush visit to Bob Jones programs, politicians often need to account for their associates’ opinions. Michael Barone, one of the authors of the Almanac of American Politics, reminds me that John Kennedy provided their landmark speech in Houston 40 years back, assuring people that he’d never be bound by the dictates associated with Vatican, as a result of general public opposition to electing a Catholic President. Oaths of office range from the terms “without psychological reservation,” Mr. Barone claims, due to the long history of spiritual impact in politics. You want to understand a President’s mind and heart.
The jewish opposition to intermarriage is perfectly understandable on some levels. Jewish populace figures have changed short while every single other group’s has grown; the Jews in the usa seems at stake. a contributor that is regular the ahead wrote recently that intermarriage is so “terrifying” that she had developed sympathy on her parents’ posture of refusing to be friends with all the intermarried.
The rhetoric in conservative and Orthodox communities is of a piece with that mindset. The Orthodox Union, of which Senator Lieberman is really a known user, over and over repeatedly characterizes intermarriage in chilling terms in public areas statements. It’s a “threat” also to survival that is“physical” one official commentary on its internet site says. Mandell I. Ganchrow, the Union’s president, claims that intermarriage is sweeping young Jews “out to sea.”
The (instead successful) Orthodox reaction to this danger is a policy of prevention. Orthodox young ones are all but segregated from wider society that is american time schools; also play is discouraged. It All starts with a Date is the title of a anti-intermarriage guide that is promoted regarding the Conservative movement’s Web site. There’s a hint ( like in many religions) of indoctrination against outsiders: Children must be instructed that Christianity and Judaism will vary and not exactly the same (i.e., Christianity is much less good).
It’s odd to see a faith which has a history of perhaps not proselytizing forced to proselytize its members that are own. And even though indoctrination may never be required for those that love being Jewish, surely nearly all Jews, yet often times the Conservatives must make use of adhere to keep individuals in line. They club the intermarried from many leadership positions, including day-school instructors and youth employees, because they’re not good “role models,” and exclude the children of Jewish fathers and non-Jewish moms (who possess perhaps not converted) from attendance at summer camps.
Of course numerous sectarian methods have an element of exclusiveness. “Every religion has stuff that is wacky” claims Steve Friedman, a lawyer active in Jewish organizations. “That’s why we don’t drag it into governmental debate.”
But that pass was not offered to George Bush. John McCain scored points in Michigan by saying, feelingly, that Bob Jones’s policy against interracial relationship (since abandoned) was “cruel” to young people. The exact same can be stated about attitudes and policies into the community that is jewish there are young adults falling in love and being coerced to break up, other individuals who don’t break up being shunned or held in disregard. (One explanation I get to share this really is I’ve experienced that scorn and shame and shame myself.) The pressing problem for Jewish organizations is just how to keep their figures alive. The last generation depended on negative classes to keep the group: concern about anti-Semitism, the Holocaust. Then those phenomena became notably meaningless up to a brand new generation, mine, and Jewish businesses had to come up with better reasons to be Jewish. Which they’ve done. They’ve been emphasizing the religion’s great traditions and understanding that is spiritual and creating much warmer feeling about being Jewish among Jews. Numerous liberal Jewish businesses have accepted intermarriage as inescapable and reached away in welcoming ways to the intermarried.
Nevertheless, many people are now waiting on the edge of their seat for the National that is next Jewish Survey figures, which will state just how many young Jews are intermarrying. In 1990, the survey’s 52 percent figure ended up being a bombshell.
The issue with even taking into consideration the intermarried is n’t much you can do about them, you wind up meddling with people’s love lives, and also you keep consitently the intermarried, who possess excellent reasons for doing what they’re doing, from piping up about their choice. For myself, i desired more. I needed everything in this culture that was offered to my peers, and my children encouraged those ambitions in me personally despite its emotions of being far outside the mainstream. Miraculously, American culture responded, and in a short time I came to find some tribal ways suffocating and encountered many Christians whom we admired and enjoyed.
The governmental implications of this intermarriage question stem through the undeniable fact that Jews are today not a threatened minority. They have succeeded beyond their dreams that are wildest they will have wealth, status, influence. And it is profoundly anti-democratic for the combined group of prosperous individuals to sit around creating methods to keep kids from marrying Christians (marriage between classes being, most likely, probably one of the most effective means of redistributing wealth in a culture). Even the term “mixed marriage,” popular with some anti-intermarriage article writers, seems oddly similar to Southern whites’ anxiety about miscegenation.
Needless to say it is a country that is big it can stand some anti-Democrats, in sc and Queens, too. There’s nothing illegal about these practices, & most folks have strong tribal emotions. Joe Lieberman declined to answer my fax regarding the presssing issue, their spokesman saying he would not see the concern as “pertinent” to their work. And both Steve Friedman and Michael Barone argue that Jewish policies on intermarriage ought to be off-limits in governmental debate. Certainly, Mr. Barone says that hanging Mr. Bush on the intolerant policies of the backwater organization (Bob Jones) hit him as being a “stretch.”
Possibly that’s the answer, greater tolerance for intolerance.