The Chief Rabbi And The Archbishop: Pushing Beyond Interfaith Clichés

Posted on June 4th, 2017
BY NATHAN JEFFAY for The Jewish Week

Ephraim Mirvis and Justin Welby strike a historic blow against anti-Semitism.

It was moving to see one of the world’s most important Christian leaders stand at Yad Vashem earlier this month, declaring that anti-Semitism should become so alien that it would be “something that is only found mysteriously in old history books.” And it wasn’t only what Justin Welby, leader of the world’s third-largest Christian grouping said that made the sight so moving — but who he said it with.

Welby is Archbishop of Canterbury, meaning that he leads the world’s 80 million Anglicans, and as he spoke about anti-Semitism in Jerusalem, his travel companion stood behind him, and then picked up where he left off. Archbishop Welby had told Commonwealth Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis that he would be visiting Israel, and realizing that the rabbi has been living in Jerusalem for a two-year stint and knows the city well, invited him to join the trip.

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RE-READING RUTH: Not “Ruth and Her Conversion” but “Ruth and her Interfaith Marriage”

Posted on May 28th, 2017

This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 


by Rabbi Robyn Frisch

“Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)

These words, spoken by the young widow Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi, are among the most well known and most powerful words in the Bible. They express Ruth’s commitment to Naomi—and to Naomi’s people and Naomi’s God. With this declaration, Ruth the Moabite cast her lot with the lot of the Jewish people, and she recognized the God of Israel as her God.

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Jewish-Christian Disputations in the Middle Ages

Posted on May 21st, 2017
Thomas Albert Howard for Patheos

Although they were infrequent affairs, formal debates between Christians and Jews sometimes took place in the Middle Ages—even if the deck was often stacked against the Jews. For a research project, I have been reading about two of these: the Paris Disputation of 1240 and the Barcelona Disputation of 1263.

The former took place at the royal court of Louis IX in Paris in June of 1240. With assurances of protection from the crown, four leading rabbis, led by Rabbi Yehiel ben Joseph of Paris, were asked to defend the Talmud against charges leveled against it by one Nicholas Donin. A Christian convert from Judaism, Donin had sent a letter itemizing putatively anti-Christian blasphemies and other imbecilities (stultitiae) in the Talmud to Pope Gregory IX, who in turn sent letters of warning to all the monarchs of Christendom. The actual debate lasted several days, during which the rabbis presented a spirited defense against the charges. But their defeat was a foregone conclusion.


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Jewish Wedding Guide for Interfaith Couples

Posted on May 14th, 2017
By InterfaithFamily

If you or a loved one from a Jewish background is planning a wedding, you probably have tons of questions. What are the components of a Jewish wedding? How can we create a meaningful and interfaith-friendly ceremony? How do we handle the planning process and include our families? The following guide offers insight into the meaning behind Jewish wedding rituals and guidance in planning an inclusive ceremony.

If you are looking for Jewish clergy to officiate at your interfaith wedding, we can help with that too!

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Why Conversion Lite Won’t Fix The Intermarriage Problem

Posted on May 7th, 2017
Shaul Magid for The Forward

In a recent essay in The Jewish Week titled “Mikveh Can Solve Conversion Problem”, Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove presented a courageous attempt to address arguably the most pressing problem of 21st century American Jewry: intermarriage.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the problem of intermarriage is that for many Millennials, it is not a problem at all. As a 2013 Pew Study showed, intermarriage has become a normative dimension of the American Jewish experience. In response, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary Arnold Eisen penned in 2014 an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in which Eisen suggested that Conservative rabbis begin a process of soft proselytizing of non-Jewish spouses of intermarriages. In some way Rabbi Cosgrove’s essay is an extension of Eisen’s proposal. In my response to Eisen’s essay [“Should Rabbis Proselytize Non-Jewish Spouses?” Zeek August 20, 2104] I challenged Chancellor Eisen on a number of fronts, one being that conversion is far too significant and intense an act, for anyone, to serve as a solution to a Jewish problem.

I offer a similar challenge to Rabbi Cosgrove.
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