Temple Micah was prominently featured in a Washington Post article about the Jewish community’s attempt to address the needs of interfaith couples. The article discusses both the importance and the challenges of finding ways to make room for these couples to feel welcome in Jewish community.

The Washington Post article begins, “Heather Moran has long been an observant Jew, so she understood why her Catholic husband would be excluded from the parental blessing during their son’s bar mitzvah. The ancient ritual welcomes youth completing the service to “our people Israel.” Although Sean Moran didn’t qualify, he is so active at Temple Micah in Northwest Washington that he was on a recent rabbi-picking committee.

“I get it,” said Heather Moran, 41, of Kensington. “This is complicated for rabbis.”

But when Micah’s rabbi, Danny Zemel, told a roomful of parents this past spring that he had written a new blessing for non-Jewish parents to say at that pivotal moment in the service, she began to cry. It thanks God, “who has made it possible for us to draw our son [or daughter] near to the Torah.” It will be used at Micah beginning this fall, and when the Morans’ son is bar mitzvahed next year.”

 

The piece goes on to tell the history of the relationship between Jewish communities and interfaith couples. As interfaith marriage becomes more common and the idea of a Jewish home broadens, congregations are being challenged to make space or lose out on these members of their community. However, fear remains that bending too far will result in a loss of Jewish tradition.

The article cites our own Rabbi Zemel as saying, “I think we’re in an era where we have to even question the kind of thinking that Judaism has essences. I think we’re in a deeper period. For me, Judaism is a system that is constantly being created and re-created. What is dominant in one era becomes secondary in another era.”

Read the rest here.