Oraynu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism

Oraynu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism

April 15, 2015 13:06 ET

Intermarriage: A Threat to Jewish Continuity? Or an Opportunity?

Oraynu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism presents "Intermarriage: Optimism and Opportunity - An inclusive vision for a Jewish future"

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 15, 2015) - "Intermarriage: Optimism and Opportunity", an interactive presentation, challenges the standard Jewish communal narrative on intermarriage and instead presents an optimistic and inclusive vision for the future of Jewish families and Jewish life. Paul Golin, Associate Executive Director, Big Tent Judaism/Jewish Outreach Institute (New York) provides a side of the story, backed by current statistics, that's rarely discussed. Michele Landsberg, noted author, journalist and social activist, delivers the introduction to this talk geared to anyone interested in intermarriage and the future of Judaism.

This educational and thought-provoking event sponsored by Oraynu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism (Oraynu) takes place on Monday, May 4, 7:30 pm at the University of Toronto Multifaith Centre in Koffler House, 569 Spadina Avenue, Toronto.

Today, most Jews in the US and Canada are personally touched by intermarriage within their immediate families. According to the Canadian 2011 National Household Survey, within the Jewish population of 392,000, 26% of Jewish spouses/partners were married to, or partnered with, non-Jews. This represents a 59% increase in 20 years. Many people fear this trend will result in the demise of Judaism.

Paul Golin, however, believes the key is to embrace the intermarried. "The way we positively engage people in Jewish life, and particularly the intermarried and their children, will determine whether the Jewish communities in the US and Canada remain vibrant or contract over the coming decades. Interfaith households are the fastest-growing segment of our population, and they represent a wonderful opportunity for us to share what we think is so great about Jewish culture, community, and spirituality with our friends and family members who are not Jewish."

Oraynu Rabbi Denise Handlarski concurs. "In a free and open society people will intermarry. The question isn't should or shouldn't they but, rather, what's next when they do?" Oraynu Life Cycle Director Rabbi Eva Goldfinger adds, "For Judaism to survive we need to practice 'Open-Heart Judaism' - to make space for diversity among us. That applies especially to the increasing number of Jews who marry non-Jews and want a welcoming place for themselves and their families."

About Paul Golin

Paul Golin is Associate Executive Director of Big Tent Judaism/Jewish Outreach Institute (New York), a national, independent organization reaching out to unaffiliated Jewish families with an emphasis on engaging intermarried households and helping the organized Jewish community better welcome them in. He consults with synagogues and other Jewish organizations and is a frequent writer and speaker on Jewish inclusion. He co-authored two books with Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, How to Raise Jewish Children Even When You're Not Jewish Yourself (2010) and Twenty Things for Grandparents of Interfaith Grandchildren To Do (And Not Do) To Nurture Jewish Identity In Their Grandchildren (2007).

About Oraynu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism

Founded in 1969, Oraynu is part of a global movement of Humanistic Jews. The first Humanistic congregation in Toronto, Oraynu is led by Rabbis trained by the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism. It provides a community where secular and cultural Jews and their families can feel comfortable, and welcomes all who are connected to the Jewish people by birth, conversion or family relationships and who share its values. Oraynu embraces young and old, singles, couples, families, intermarried and LGBTQ couples and families, and anyone looking to connect to a community and programs that stimulate the intellect, inspire the heart and foster a sense of social engagement.

Oraynu's members and associates practice their Jewishness in a manner consistent with their beliefs and world view. The congregation provides opportunities to celebrate Jewish Festivals and Life Cycle events with humanist and egalitarian liturgy rather than prayer and offers a children's school, adult education programs and social and cultural events. Guiding principles include tikkun olam-building a better world for all people. Oraynu stands in solidarity with Israel and Jews throughout the world.


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