Episode 10: Intermarriage and HUC


Featuring (in order of appearance): 

Rabbi-to-Be Lex rofeberg

Rabbi Jessica K. Shimberg

Rabbi Daniel Kirzane



In this episode, meet Lex, Rabbi Jessica, and Rabbi Daniel. Lex and Rabbi Jessica are a student and graduate of ALEPH, the Renewal rabbinical program, and both have experiences of being intermarried. Rabbi Daniel, a Reform rabbi, and child of an intermarried couple, delivered his senior sermon about HUC's policy not to admit intermarried students to rabbinical, cantorial, or Jewish educator degree programs. The three of them share their experiences, and their take, on HUC's intermarriage policy.

Show Notes

  • 0:00-0:30: Thanks for listening! I'm your host! 
  • 0:30-2:30: Meet Lex, a rabbinical student at ALEPH and co-host of Judaism Unbound. Lex discusses a Facebook post detailing his upset at HUC (Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion) for not admitting or entertaining applications for rabbinical, cantorial, or Jewish educator students who are intermarried. 
  • 2:30-5:05: Lex shares his experience of learning about HUC's policy while a student at Brown University. 
  • 5:05-7:05: I offer a few more details about HUC's policy for rabbinical, cantorial, and Jewish education degrees and explain why we've circled back to the topic of "Intermarried Rabbinical Students" after already releasing an episode about it last fall. 
  • 7:05-8:55: We meet Rabbi Jessica, Rabbi of The Little Minyan Kehilah, who shares about her experience of growing up in a joyous Reform community.
  • 8:55-13:05: Rabbi Jessica tells her story of a URJ (Union for Reform Judaism) Biennial Conference, during which she was told that she, as an intermarried person raising Jewish children, was a bad example for Reform congregations. 
  • 13:20-18:20: We meet Rabbi Daniel, a graduate of HUC-JIR who crafted his senior sermon to advocate for the consideration of intermarried applicants at HUC. [See more of Rabbi Daniel's writings about this topic in Sh'ma and The Times of Israel.] Rabbi Daniel discusses the integrity with which HUC considered this issue in 2013, and his admiration for the process despite HUC's having come to a different conclusion than the one he advocated. 
  • 18:30-19:05: I talk about Reform Judaism and the disconnect between its general inclusivity and this particular stance.
  • 19:05-20:05: Lex speaks of Reform Judaism's general progressiveness and its inconsistency with this particular issue of intermarried students. 
  • 20:20-21:10: Lex explains why Conservative Judaism's stance barring intermarried rabbinical students is consistent with its overall practices. 
  • 21:20-24:10: Rabbi Jessica talks about Jewish "legitimacy" and the need to have multiple ways of being and doing Jewish. 
  • 24:15-28:00: Lex discusses the need to redefine Jewish families and their increasing diversity. He speaks specifically about the notion of purity not being a goal in 2018. 
  • 28:00-29:10: Rabbi Daniel plays out the argument of "well, what if it's true that it's not ideal for a rabbinical student to be married to someone who's not Jewish?" 
  • 29:10-30:05: Lex asserts that this policy will shift and that when it does it will be beautiful.
  • 30:05-end: I close us out with a call of love to the Reform Movement and a reminder that there are many, many Jews who would support this policy changing. And, as always, I remind y'all to check out the shownotes (Nice work!), follow on social media (check out those lil buttons right below this line), donate, and share the podcast with friends.