Shtetl Mentality | Letters | Chicago Reader

Shtetl Mentality 

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Ben Joravsky's "Rabbis' Rules" [Neighborhood News, December 1] exposes the dangerous attitude towards interfaith relationships held by many Conservative and Orthodox Jews. When will out of touch "leaders" like Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz realize that outreach efforts to the intermarried and interdating must extend beyond the synagogue? Those programs that have been most successful in welcoming the intermarried into the community, like the "Stepping Stones" program for children and parents of an interfaith household, are those held in nonconfrontational settings. It is perhaps a failing of the progressive streams of Judaism but the reality is that many young people simply do not feel comfortable talking with a rabbi. The response of the Jewish community should be less moralizing and more welcoming. It's about time Jews abandon the shtetl mentality and realize that ignoring the 50 percent intermarriage rate won't make it go away.

Jonathan Krieger


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