Wednesday, July 06, 2005

what is a wedding?

What is a wedding?

There are 3 wedding situations that bring up the question of what exactly is a wedding and it involves the issue of tolerance, which we enjoy speaking about on this blog.

1) Jewish Girl Marrying non Jewish Boy.
2) Jewish Girl Marrying Jewish Boy who insists that there be nothing Jewish about the Wedding.
3) Jewish Girl Marrying Jewish Boy in religious ceremony after being maried civilly and physically for the past year

Which brings us to our questions -
1) If the girl is in love with the non-Jewish boy and grew up in a non-Jewish environment, why should you care who she marries? It is her choice. She has to live with him, not you. Be tolerant of other people and accept her choices that she has made.

2) Is a wedding a religious event or is it more a civil, social event?

3) Is a completely secular wedding the same thing as an agreement to legally sleep together? Is there some deeper commitment in a secular wedding?

4) If a non-Jewish friend would marry another non-Jew would you go to the wedding? Then what is the difference between someone who doesn't recognize their own Judaism?

5) Is it racist to say that Jews should only marry Jews? Is there anything wrong with being racist in this way? What if you didn't have a problem if she would marry a black jew? Does that mean you aren't racist but just a religious fundamentalist radical? Is that bad?

6) If you believe that marrying outside of your faith is a terrible thing, can you go to the wedding of someone you love and watch them kill themselves? Would you go to a party that is celebrating the destruction of your people? Would you light someone's cigarette if you believed they would get cancer the next day because of it?

The Rambam (Maimonadies) brings down that before the Torah was given a person would get married by meeting a girl and agreeing to "be married." After the Torah was given, we now include God in our marriage and lives and therefore matrimony has become a very holy alliance.


Rolling hills of green said...

so many questions, but the answers are subjective.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

You ask such interesting and provocative questions, and raise issues that I think about myself now that my own children are approaching the age of marriage.

In my mind, it is imperative that both my children marry Jews, period. This is important to me as I feel they have an obligation to the Jewish people. I have made this clear that this is my value and what I want. My husband, on the other hand, says that this is putting too much pressure upon them, that they will rebel, go in a different direction. But I disagree. I think if you raise your children with values, and tell them it is important to you, then they will know which direction to head. Being raised in a religious environment is not a guarentee that your child will marry Jewish, as I have seen from some who have gone in a different direction, but it helps. We know several Orthodox families whose children married non-Jews, and some non-religious Jews as well. It is a complicated issue. When my son just went to Israel, I told him to bring back a wife. My husband laughed. In many ways, I was not joking.

Have fun at the wedding. I would go to any wedding myself, as I accept people for their own choices, despite my own ideas about things.

Anonymous said...

Ideally I would like to agree with Barbara... however I cannot. I was raised knowing that I must marry Jewish... no ifs and or buts about it.

It happens that I did. However, my sibling, who was raised with the same values, as an adult, chose her own direction, and marrying Jewish is not important to her.

I believe that my parents do "value" the idea of marrying Jewish, however that was not enough.

I do not think that "marrying Jewish" really is a value. I think it is more of a bi-product of other values.

CJ Srullowitz said...

I am going, lulei demistafina, to a non jewish wedding this summer, but not to the wedding of a cousin marrying a non-Jew.

I'm not going to call him up and criticize him, but he needs to respect my boundaries.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of weddings... happy anniversary to rock and rolling :)

DAG said...

The preliminary w/s to help the rennert family is up at

DAG said...

The preliminary website to help the Rennert family, is up

Olah Chadasha said...

Wow, OK, this is probably an intense subject for most Jewish families, even for those that are not observant. I know a family (they pretty much keep and know nothing at all) that's having issues with the fact that one of their sons is dating a non-jewish girl. Last year, he decided to go to her family's Easter dinner instead of to his family's Pesach dinner. I'm only going to say what I think on one of the questions you posed, #5. I don't think it's racist at all to only marry a Jew. In my mind, Judaism's more than a culture, more than a religion, it's a total way of life. How can you marry some-one who doesn't follow that and/or doesn't want to have anything to do with it or wants to celebrate Jewish and non-Jewish holidays? How messed up will the kids become? OK, I don't want to go too long here. I know how much you hate that. But, I just think there are so many problems that will arise by, either, marrying a non-jew or some-one who isn't as religious as you are. We're not talking about a black/white marriage. There's nothing wrong with marrying a black jew or a chinese jew or whatever kind of jew. It's the jew part that matters. Call me fundamentalist or call me ethno-centric. But, any-one (unless they're totally non-religious) who says that there's no problem marrying outside of judaism doesn't know what they're talking about.

rockofgalilee said...

I think when children are ready to get married or start dating seriously, the real question is not whether or not a parent approves or disapproves, but rather whether the child (who is practically an adult by that time) feels that there is a real difference between Jewish people and non-Jewish people as well as feeling a strong connection to the Jewish people.

Without a very strong internal feeling that this is true, it does not matter what anybody else wants or approves, the child will not feel that it is important and will therefore feel that everyone is being ridiculous about such a tiny matter. After all - "religious Jews cheat and steal and leroy is a good person"

Olah Chadasha said...

Yeah, that's totally right. Why should he date a Jew, when he's never had any connection to what being a Jew is all about, and why it's very important to stick to it?