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Taken from the Jewish Chronicle, October 2004.

Multimillionaire and community leader Edgar bromfman on re assessment of the attitude to inter-marriage.

Edgar Bronfman is probably the best known Jewish leader in the world, he is president of the world Jewish congress, and Hillel International, on who's behalf he was in London last week. In 1999 us president bill Clinton awarded Bronfman the presidential Medal of Freedom, America's top civilian honour.

Bronfman is concerned to improve the Jewish knowledge of secular Jews to keep them Jewish. He feels that if young people want to inter-marry then both the Jewish and the non-Jewish should learn about Judaism. Hillel, says Bronfman wants to serve all Jews, so we want to appeal to secular Jews too. The great secret of Jewish survival is Jewish pride. And the secret of Jewish pride is Jewish knowledge. Bronfman believes Hillel offers the last chance to capture young Jews and keep them Jewish. He is also trying to get to Jewish teens, before they get to university.

"If you tell American Jews we are in crisis, they will look at you and laugh, but there is a crisis, its too easy to choose not to be Jewish. Its time to abandon racist ideas and encourage inter marriage couples to raise their children as fully accepted Jews. The whole concept of Jewish peoplehood and the lines being pure begins to sound a little like Nazism (meaning racist). The current communal attitude is dated, today we can make an attempt to double the amount of Jews that there are, or we can irritate everybody who's inter married and loose them all. I think we have to become welcoming because now we are rather stiff-necked. I don’t think its necessary for the other partner to convert as long as they bring up their children as Jewish. Sometimes, conversion could come with time. The rabbi who refuses to marry such couples is turning people off".

Dear Mr. Bronfman
I write in support of your ideas about inter-marriage. Infect, I go further and say, that Jews Christians and Muslims are religiously equal. I keep asking our rabbis, do Christians worship the same god that we do? And they all say "yes". Do Muslims worship the same god as we do? And they all say "yes".
Judaism is not a proselytising religion - not anymore anyway. The ambition and aim of Judaism is to bring the whole world to the knowledge and worship of the One True God (the god of Israel). The majority of mankind already do so, and all 3 religions should now go forward hand in hand to bring the rest of mankind into the fold.

The question of inter-marriage is the correct way to go forward.

Kind regards and best wishes

Naim Dangoor, Exilarch




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