Judaism has been widely regarded as a religion that sticks to fundamental truths and practices. And this religion’s enduring influence is attributed to this fact. Judaism’s belief systems were established since the time of Christ. It is withstanding the test of time and has remained relevant for people of this day and age.
How about in the realm of marriage? What are the long-standing belief systems of Judaism regarding this? Specifically, is interfaith marriage allowed in Judaism?
Here is a brief history of evolving discussion regarding the matter.
Orthodox Views On Marriage
Traditionally, Judaism has been strict regarding marrying outside of the religion. The basis of this belief is the Torah itself. As explicitly stated in Deuteronomy 7: 3-4, intermarriage with non-believers is not allowed. As a result, some parents of children opting for interfaith marriage kicked out their children out of the family.
Based on this belief, the majority of the rabbis also do not hold ceremonies for intermarriages. They are espousing the continuity of the Jewish people. It means that the lineage of the Jews could be interrupted due to interfaith marriages. The unique culture and belief systems that the Jews have long protected could be compromised.
“I do not believe that traditional opposition to intermarriage is predicated on the notion that non-Jews are somehow inferior to
Jews or that Jews are somehow special or better,” Daniel Polish, Ph.D. says.
What About The Current Pulse On Interfaith Marriages?
Even in modern times, there are still a majority of conservatives who would want to avoid interfaith marriage. Conservative rabbis still do not officiate interfaith weddings. It is because there are still many contentions from conservatives regarding interfaith marriages.
On the other hand, there is a growing number of people (mostly the younger generation) who are more open to interfaith marriages. In this day and age, the words “race,” “beliefs,” and “faith” are slowly shattered for a more interconnected world. In this regard, people mainly marry because of love, regardless of faith or collective beliefs.
This scenario goes against what conservatives are protecting – the preservation of Jewish belief systems and Judaism. To accommodate them, reform rabbis are more lenient in agreeing to officiate interfaith marriages.
In a study conducted by Siham Yahya, PhD and co-author, they found out that, “Only some participants in the present study were open to engaging in a cross-cultural and interfaith relationship, provided the partner was neither too religious nor demanded for the participants to change in any way.”
However, interfaith marriages can pose problems later on. Particularly, these problems arise in the area of child-rearing. There are concerns as to what beliefs the children will follow.
- Will the non-Jew parent convert to Judaism?
- If not, will the children be exposed to other religions?
- If yes, will the children follow Judaism and its belief systems religiously?
- Who will enforce Jewish customs at home?
- Can I still practice Judaism if my partner is not interested?
“Children of Christian-Jewish marriages are psychologically healthier if they are raised in the religion of one of the parents rather than in both faiths or none at all,” Aphrodite Clamar PhD explains.
Before even considering marriage, these are only some of the questions to decide on as a couple. These considerations can also make or break your marriage. These decisions have implications in the entire course of your married life.
With regards to interfaith marriage, it all boils down to one’s perception on the matter. If your inclination is towards the reformist spectrum, then, by all means, marry the person you love. Love the person regardless of race and belief system. However, if you are also taking into consideration your lineage and your traditions, might as well consider finding a perfect Judaist partner. Your married life and family life will be burden-free because of the shared culture and beliefs.