Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Side By Side--USY

In the corner of the Internet that deals with Conservative Judaism there's been a little bit of a commotion. It seems that the youth group, USY (United Synagogue Youth) has changed its rules. It used to be that the leadership couldn't date someone who wasn't Jewish. (aka interdating), Now they are allowed to.

That's it.

If you had pulled a pin out of a grenade you might have had a smaller explosion. The outcry from conservative adults who are upset that their childhood club was, to me, astounding. "Why I Am No Longer A Conservative Jew" read one blog. "Another Nail in the Coffin for Conservative Judaism" read another.


I loved USY. It was where I went to hang out with my friends. The fact that it answered a lot of questions about Judaism that hebrew school didn't was just icing.

I went away to college. I met a wonderful man. I married him.
No, he wasn't and isn't Jewish.

This has nothing to do with USY. This has nothing to do with how I was raised. Well--actually maybe it did. Every day, I watched a kind, remarkable, genuinely good man be wonderful to his intelligent, remarkable, wife. My parents. I wanted a marriage like that. Do I have a marriage like that? Well, they missed their 65th wedding anniversary by two months--so ask me in another forty years or so. I found a man who treats me well. I found a man who adores me. I found someone who helps me to grow into the person I want to be.

This picture is it for me.

It's simple. It's a Christmas tree and a fully lit Chanukiah (Menorah).

It is my home.
It is my December reality--not a dilemma.

To some it is horrific. Intermarriage where I did not, nor will I ever, ask my husband to convert.

I wonder what those people would say if he asked me to convert to his religion. Would they say that is horrible? How I worship the Devine, how I see myself in the universe is more in line with my Jewish upbringing. I cannot change that. To change that is to change a vital part of me. My husband understands this. To ask him to convert is to change a vital part of him. I understand that.

We are raising my daughter as a Jew. We are raising her to understand and respect the religion in which her father was raised. The kids in USY who changed the rules that the leaders can now date outside Judaism might well have parents who are not Jewish. They are honoring their parents. We would do well to honor the children.

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