Shared Spirit: His Sister’s Wedding

Shared Spirit: His Sister’s Wedding

Moderated by Rachel Stein |

The following are some of the responses to the Aug. 5 Shared Spirit column, “Bowing Out of My Sister’s Wedding,” in which a young man, with his rabbi’s advice, decided he could not attend his sister’s wedding because she was marrying a non-Jew. Look for more responses in an upcoming issue of the AJT.

Love Your Sister

Provided that the wedding is not on Shabbat or in a church, I would urge the young man to attend the ceremony to show support and unconditional love for his sister on one of the most important days of her life. It is not condoning what she is doing; it is showing brotherly love. Although he has religious standards for himself, which is commendable, he should not impose them on others, especially family. He would not love his sister less and withdraw support if she committed a civil crime, so why should he do it in this instance?

Maybe one day she will correct the sin that he so abhors, but he will never be able to undo the fact that he missed her special day.

— Avrum Mendel

Simple Ignorance

An ignorant side of Judaism was displayed in this article, disturbing to read. This is not the faith community I know.

— Joe Sterling

Follow Convictions
Our message to you is that if your religious convictions prohibit you from attending a wedding between a Jew and a nonconverted gentile, then of course you cannot attend.

My wife and I had an Orthodox Jewish wedding, and a few nonreligious relatives said they would not attend because we were having a mechitza with separate seating and dancing, to which they were opposed. We felt bad that they chose not to come, but we were not about to alter our religious convictions to placate other people — life doesn’t work that way. Respecting someone’s religious lifestyle means complete acceptance without conditions. Good luck to you; my wife and I are proud of you.
— Mr. and Mrs. Pesach-Yonah Malevitz

Family Love

Bear in mind the words your rabbi and teachers spoke to you: “Live peacefully with your family. Show plenty of respect and love.”
Go to the wedding out of love and respect. Attending is not showing your approval of the marriage. It is simply an act to bridge your family. Going will not change how you feel, nor will it be disrespectful to G-d.

— Robin Nelson

Don’t Go

This is a difficult dilemma. I think when you choose to be Orthodox, you have to follow your belief system.

I once hosted an Orthodox relative and made sure to serve him foods with reliable kosher certification. I was happy to do that and couldn’t have lived with myself had I done otherwise.

That’s what families do for each other: Show respect and love for each other’s choices, even if they’re different from your own.

You cannot and should not attend the wedding. However, make it clear to your sister that your love for her remains. Ultimately, when caring and respect are shown from both sides, a loving relationship will prevail.

— Zhenia Gresczes

Go to the Wedding

My sister died of cancer at 32. She never had a Jewish family. She missed so much that I wish I could have celebrated with her. Would her religion have mattered?

It’s your sister. Show your moral superiority by going to the wedding.

— Michael Halpin

BT Blunder

As a woman who was Reform, then became baal teshuvah for 11 years and am now neither, just Jewish, this is maddening and tragic. There is no reason he cannot go to his sister’s wedding. He isn’t marrying a non-Jew, and it is her choice.

He reminds me of all new BTs. Consumed with wanting to be religious, they lose sense of what is truly important: family, love and respect. When his zealousness wears off in a few years (and it will), the damage he causes his family will be repairable only if they don’t follow his example. So sad.

— Chava Canales

Matter of Survival

I know how tough it is not to be able to attend a close relative’s wedding because he or she is marrying a non-Jew. But if we as members of the observant community accept intermarriage, we might as well give up on Judaism. The newest Pew report states that 71 percent of non-Orthodox Jews intermarry. What is to become of us?

— R.G.

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