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Ask the rabbi Family and Society Attitude Towards Other Nations

My Sister’s Intermarriage - Guidance

My sister and I grew up in an orthodox Jewish home in a very religious neighborhood. Unfortunately, our family suffered greatly due to ultra orthodox people. Eventually she moved away from our religious neighborhood, saying that she didn’t want to live with and identify with people who could act that way. To make a long story short, she landed up in a remote state and, I just found out, is in a serious relationship with a christian man whom she wants to marry. Now that I know about her boyfriend, she want me to meet him and is asking for my support and approval. On one hand, she has been thru so much, that the last thing I want to do is add any strain to her already broken heart or stress her more. I want her to know that I’m always there for her and I don’t want to alienate her or potentially close the already compromised lines of communication. On the other hand, I really don’t feel comfortable approving of intermarriage or giving her the vibes that I think its a good idea. Although I know I can not stop her, am I halachically allowed to condone it for peace’s sake? What are the halachic rules about what I am allowed to say or approve of in this situation? I hope it doesn’t come to it, but if it does, can I go to her wedding? Do I have to outright tell her its forbidden? What guidance can you give me for a situation like mine?
I’m sorry to hear about your sister and your unfortunate surroundings in your past. Judaism is perfect, Jews are not! I have been connected over the years to tens of different orthodox communities (admittedly zionist-orthodox and not charedi), and have never heard of such negative feelings that your sister has felt! It’s a shame that this is your sister’s picture of Judaism, and the best thing to do is to invite her to taste a beautiful Shabbat in a warm family, and as is celebrated and felt in most communities! Imagine a day without cellphones or internet, but for family and intimacy! By all means, you should try and keep your lines of communication open, and and not alienate her, for your sake and for her’s. It’s immoral to stop your loving sibling relationship because of something drastic and unfortunate, and there’s also no reason to punish yourself by “losing” a loved one. In addition, nationally and religiously, the last thing the Jewish People need today is to sever the last relationship that a particular Jew has with her past and tradition, which is through you. On the other hand, we clearly cannot condone intermarriage, and your sister knows (!) and understands that this is part of Judaism. Accordingly, you shouldn’t go to her wedding (and again, she will understand that you just can’t), and just like she wants you to respect her choices, she must respect yours, as well. Nevertheless, there is an interesting statistic that you should raise with her out of true concern for her (!) best: that 80% of the intermarriages in America end in divorce! Now 100% of them thought at the time of marriage, that “it won’t happen to us”, but if you love your sister, you owe it to her to let her know and consider the facts. The most common cause is revealing “latent ant-Semitism” which surprisingly surfaces in the spouse or in his family (especially in those "remote" states). Often it stems from revealing how different her values are from the gentile spouse’s and his family's beliefs (have her think-ahead concretely, and picture things like Christmas and church, eating pork, being anti-Israel, etc.), especially if your sister received a religious education, she may be revolted by some of these very real scenarios . Nobody gets married to get divorced, so 80% is something she would be wise to consider.
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