The Jewish Daily Forward named President Deborah Waxman one of the Top 50 Jewish influencers of 2015. They praised her work in leading the “welcoming” camp for Jews who want to marry non-Jews, based on the vote by RRC faculty in September to change the admissions policy for new students and graduates. We offer our congratulations to her, and our thanks to the Forward for recognizing her leadership.
The Forward noted that Reconstructionist Judaism is a small but influential movement. “The implications of the RRC’s decision to allow intermarried rabbis are still unclear,” writes the Forward, “but the arguments across the wider community have been vehement. Will other liberal movements follow suit, as they did in following Reconstructionists to allow gay and lesbian rabbis? Or will rabbis continue to resist intermarriage in the name of Jewish survival?”
In the last week, we’ve seen the implications of RRC’s decisions debated by Reform rabbis, with two divergent positions published in Haaretz. Rabbi Leon Morris argued that Jewishly-married rabbis remain the ideal, and that contra Reconstructionism’s mantra, Judaism shouldn’t change to sanctify what people do. Rabbi Seth Limmer took a different stance: if rabbis are trusted to perform intermarriages, if rabbis are trusted to make a wide range of good decisions about Jewish life and practice, then why are they not trusted to pick their spouses and partners responsibly? “Let us empower our rabbis,” Rabbi Limmer ends his essay, “to build their own Jewish families in keeping with their deep, thoughtful, and personal judgment.”
We at RRC are always interested to see our ideas and practices influence other parts of the Jewish community, and were intrigued to read this particular pair of essays.
Congratulations Deborah, on your leadership and recognitions.