This week’s madlik podcast:
Join us as we imagine how Jewish Law and accepted practice adjusts to the alarmingly high rate of intermarriage in the USA and the subsequent loss of households identifying as Jewish.
Listen to the madlik podcast:
- The Pew Survey Reanalyzed: More Bad News, but a Glimmer of Hope – by JACK WERTHEIMER AND STEVEN M. COHEN
- It’s time to allow Conservative rabbis to officiate at interfaith weddings By Seymour Rosenbloom April 4, 2016
נָבֹל תִּבֹּל גַּם אַתָּה גַּם הָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר עִמָּךְ כִּי כָבֵד מִמְּךָ הַדָּבָר לֹא תוּכַל עֲשׂהוּ לְבַדֶּךָ
You will surely wear yourself out both you and these people who are with you for the matter is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Exodus 18: 18
- Daughters of Zelophechad
לָמָּה יִגָּרַע שֵׁם אָבִינוּ מִתּוֹךְ מִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ כִּי אֵין לוֹ בֵּן תְּנָה לָּנוּ אֲחֻזָּה בְּתוֹךְ אֲחֵי אָבִינוּ
Why should our father’s name be eliminated from his family because he had no son? Give us a portion along with our father’s brothers. Numbers 36
Rashi: because he had no son: But if he had a son, they would have made no claim at all. This teaches us that they were intelligent women. — [Sifrei Pinchas 15, Sifrei Pinchas 13]
Exodus 22:24 (25)—If thou lend money to any of My people, even to the poor with thee, thou shalt not be to him as a creditor; neither shall ye lay upon him interest.
אִם-כֶּסֶף תַּלְוֶה אֶת-עַמִּי, אֶת-הֶעָנִי עִמָּךְ–לֹא-תִהְיֶה לוֹ, כְּנֹשֶׁה; לֹא-תְשִׂימוּן עָלָיו, נֶשֶׁךְ
Deuteronomy 23:21 (20)—Unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou puttest thy hand unto, in the land whither thou goest in to possess it.
לַנָּכְרִי תַשִּׁיךְ, וּלְאָחִיךָ לֹא תַשִּׁיךְ–לְמַעַן יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּכֹל מִשְׁלַח יָדֶךָ, עַל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה בָא-שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ
Heter Isaka see How Does a Heter Iska Work? By Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff
- Heter Mechira, In the modern era, as Jews started to return to the land of Israel, the struggling farmers trying against all odds to eke out a marginal existence were confronted with the biblical law of shemita.. the requirement to let the land lie fallow every 7 years. In 1888 a bunch of the most esteemed Europeanrabbis (and the Chief Rabbi of Jaffa) came up with an innovative idea which has become known as the heter mechira (literally: permission to sell). They proposed, that just as on Passover we sell our Hametz to a non-Jew, for the Sabattical year of rest, the entire land of Israel may be sold to a gentile, so that the Jews could work the land. …By the time the next shmita cycle came around in 1895-1896, the rabbinic authorities had joined a united front permitting the sale of the land for that sabbatical year. The rabbis concluded that reality dictated a need for such action because the people could not observe the laws of shmita. In the years of 1910 and 1911, Rav Kook allowed for the sale of the land as well, reaffirming that although it was not ideal, it served an important purpose. …In the years that followed, the decision to sell the land was reevaluated before the arrival of each shmita cycle. Once the State of Israel was established, the Rabbanut (Chief Rabbinate) accepted the sale of the land every year until as recently as 2007-2008. (See Whose Land is it Anyway? By: Nava Billet published in the Yeshiva University Student Newspaper).
- Gathering pace, rogue Israeli conversion court racks up new Jews
- Assimilation is here’ says Tzohar chairman Rabbi Stav
- Rabbi: Conversion Panel to Prevent Intermarriage
- Ger Katan in the Talmud: see Hebrew and here in English
- Tircha DeTzibut – טורח ציבור Undo Duress to the community see:
אין גוזרין יותר משלש עשרה תעניות על הצבור לפי שאין מטריחין את הצבור יותר מדאי דברי רבי
- A decree that a majority of the community can live with
אין גוזרין גזירה על הצבור, אלא אם כן רוב הצבור יכולין לעמוד בה. קודם הנהגת תקנות וגזירות, על בית דין לבדוק אם רוב הציבור יכול לעמוד בה. עבודה זרה לו, א
When a court sees it necessary to issue a decree, institute an edict, or establish a custom, they must first contemplate the matter and see whether or not the majority of the community can uphold the practice. We never issue a decree on the community unless the majority of the community can uphold the practice.
See Maimonides Code Mishne Torah Mamrim – Chapter 2 especially laws 5 – 9
- On Status and Identity
See: Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policymaking in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Orthodox Responsa 2012 by David Ellenson and Daniel Gordis
See: On Proving Jewish Identity Oct. 2011 by Rabbi Reuven Hammer
The Rambam in Isurei Biah 19:17 cites the rule in Kiddushin 76b above and states:
All familes stand in the presumption of fitness and may enter into marriage from the very beginning.
Under the Chuppah: Rabbinic Officiation and Intermarriage
Brandeis University Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies