Ask the Rabbi

  • Family and Society
  • Conversion

Conversion and family impact


Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

16 Kislev 5765
My daughter is engaged to a man undergoing a Reform conversion. My adult son, raised Conservative and with little historic interest in Judaism, is studying at a Yeshiva in Israel and is now frum. His rabbi tells him that he can’t attend his sister’s engagement party or wedding. His choice appears to be turning his back on his new found love of Hashem or seeing his close family torn apart by his lack of participation in the Simcha. Is there some Torah wisdom here or something for me to study to help our situation?
I can see your pain and feel your sorrow, yet I must say I back up your son's rabbi. A reform convert is not Jewish, your daughter therefore is marring out. Your son will not participate in a family Simcha but nor will you. You will be celebrating a national and personal tragedy. It shouldn't make any difference how observant or not observant is a Jew; all Jews should want to marry Jews and should not support those who don't. Your son still loves you and his sister, he might even get along nicely with his new brother-in-law, but to celebrate or to be part of a mockery of Judaism and of all that is important for him and the Jewish people is something unheard of. Jews in all generations went to the gallows and were thrown to the fire furnace for not marrying out; your son can't be part of breaking the Jewish chain. The truth is you mustn't let it happen too. You are not less Jewish than him and it should hurt you as it hurts the hart of any Jew, like it hurts my hart. In any case try to see this matter through the eyes of your son and I'm sure you will understand him.
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