WJW: Potomac synagogue gave Torah-honor to a man who married a non-Jewish woman

I don't know if this is a first for the Conservative movement. The Washington Jewish Week reports that a congregation in the area (Potomac, MD) has taken to honoring with an aliyah to the Torah a man who is about to marry a non-Jewish woman. The circumstances are crucial to the decision as described in the article. We are sure we will hear more about this "delicate" topic.
A delicate balance
Rabbis continue seeking ways to welcome
by Eric Fingerhut
Staff Writer

It seemed like a pretty typical Shabbat service at Congregation Har Shalom one August morning. A bar mitzvah boy marked his rite of passage, and a congregant was honored with an aliyah on the occasion of his upcoming marriage.

But the service wasn't as typical as it appeared. The congregant called to the Torah was marrying a non-Jewish woman, and it was the first time the Potomac congregation had so honored someone entering an interfaith marriage.

Har Shalom Rabbi H. David Rose stressed the ceremony was not a formal ufruf, in which a couple is called to the Torah before their wedding. But he said an honor was in order because the couple had pledged, in meetings with him, to build a Jewish home and raise their children exclusively Jewish.

"This was a member of longstanding," Rose said, and the couple should be "welcomed and complimented" for "establishing a Jewish home. ... We have a job to make Jewish grandchildren and great-grandchildren."

The rabbi reported no negative feedback - and said he would not hesitate to do the same thing again in the same situation.

Rose's decision is not common in the Conservative movement - none of the Conservative rabbis surveyed for this article said he or she had bestowed a similar honor and one rabbi knew of only one other synagogue that had adopted, and later dropped, such a policy. But it is one example of how local synagogues have been handling keruv, or outreach, during the past few years. They are trying to strike a delicate balance between encouraging interfaith couples to be a part of the Jewish community while at the same time not sanctioning or approving of intermarriage. more...

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