Now, Reconstructionist Rabbis Can Be Married to Non-Jews

“Many younger progressive Jews, including many rabbis and rabbinical students, now perceive restrictions placed on those who are intermarried as reinforcing a tribalism that feels personally alienating and morally troubling in the 21st century,” according to a statement from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the ordaining body for this stream of Judaism, which positions itself more or less between the Conservative and Reform movements. The seminary is headed by Rabbi Deborah Waxman. When a decision to permit such marriages was announced last year, Rabbi Waxman said, “The issue of Jews intermarrying is no longer something we want to police.”

Now, 20 Reconstructionist rabbis who do not believe rabbis should intermarry have formed a new association, Beit Kaplan, to “affirm a serious commitment to traditional Jewish thought and practice.”

Rabbi Shoshana Hantman, one of nine women rabbis in the group, says it was formed “in part, by the RRC policy shift that muddles what it means for a rabbi to have a Jewish family.”

Rabbi Reba Carmel, also a founding member of Beit Kaplan, told The Forward that letting rabbis marry outside Judaism is “detrimental to the Jewish people…It goes to the heart of what it means to be a Jewish leader.”