Menu JTA Search

Reform Rabbis Postpone Decision on Mixed Marriage Ban on Mixed Marriage Ban

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Reform rabbinical body, has apparently put off for another year the question of issuing a ban on mixed marriages. Rabbi Herman Schaalman of Chicago, chairman of the CCAR’s Mixed Marriage Committee, recommended today that the present position of the organization which is that mixed marriages should be discouraged, be maintained for the time being to enable additional research and analysis.

Rabbi Schaalman told delegates attending the 83rd annual convention here that further study was required into the Jewishness of both the unconverted partner and the children of mixed marriages, their synagogue participation and the Jewish manner in which they raise a family before a decision is made on a ban, a move that has been advocated by many CCAR members over the years.

The results of a statistical survey made for the CCAR disclosed that 41 percent of its members–a larger number than originally estimated –officiated at mixed marriages where the non-Jewish spouse had not undergone prior conversion.

The survey, part of an extensive study of the Reform rabbinate conducted by Dr. Theodore I. Lenn and Associates, reported that 21 percent of the CCAR’s 1000 members officiated at mixed marriages if certain conditions were met but 20 percent would do so at the request of the couple. According to a CCAR spokesman, the conditions were an undertaking by the couple to give their children a Jewish upbringing and to live a Jewish family life.

According to previous estimates, only between 10 percent and one-third of the CCAR’s membership officiated at mixed marriages, with or without conditions.

Dr. Lenn reported that the overwhelming number of Reform Jews in the 710 synagogues in the US and Canada are the children of Jewish parents. Only four percent are the offspring of mixed marriages, one percent converts from non-Jewish homes and one percent identify themselves as non-Jewish. In another convention development, the delegates voted unanimously to have the CCAR join the American Jewish Congress.

NEXT STORY