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Interfaith Weddings and Community


I believe that Judaism has teachings to offer that relevant and powerful to people of all backgrounds. I believe in the teaching from Isaiah that states "My house of prayer shall be a house of prayer for all people." I honestly believe that universal Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) can be encouraged by sharing the riches of our tradition with people of all faiths.

My experience in doing intercultural weddings is this: by the time couples get to me, they have often been rejected by other rabbis who will not perform their intercultural ceremonies. These rabbis are mostly not mean or rude, but most do leave the couple feeling judged negatively for their life choices and rejected by Judaism (of which we are its exemplars). These very same rabbis often seem to be proponents of outreach programs for intercultural families with children, so the message to the couples is "We don't want you until you have something (kids) that we want."

My sense is this: intercultural marriage is a reality, a consequence of the social freedom Jews longed for for centuries. The message I want to send those families is: we want you, we want to help you find a place at the Jewish table. We want it to be easy for you and your children to celebrate Jewishness from where you are."

Much of my work is with non-Jews. (As it is said, "Go through the door that is open." This is the nature of my home community where there are few Jews.) I lecture, teach classes and am considered the Jewish story teller in residence for many churches and organizations. I teach Jewish ideas, stories, and values to people of all traditions in a way they find accessible and applicable to their own lives. Some of these folks join the synagogue (no "conversion" required), some become Jewish, and most do not. Most leave more inspired about their own spiritual tradition, more moved to act in loving ways, more encouraged that they can change the world.

I was the first non Christian summer minister in residence at the Bayview Association of Harbor Springs, a historically (how to say this?) non-diverse chataqua. My visit was controversial because there were those who objected to my non-Methodism and my Judaism, as minister in residence.

Two things sum up that experience: my lecture tapes are the most often purchase tapes from their bookstore in the history of Bayview, and when their chief minister spoke at the celebration of my ordination in Augist of 2005, he said, "When you unrolled the Torah scroll [I use a touchable paper reproduction for teaching purposes and allow everyone to form two long lines to unroll it], you gave us our heritage back."

My goal is not to make the whole world Jewish. My goal is use the tools I have to help every heart, every soul, and every family and community I touch experience its unique path to joy, abundance and blessing. It is from that place of joy, abundance and blessing that we repair the world.

A nice resource for learning about interfaith weaving can be found here, at an Interfaith Calendar page:
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