I was dismayed and shocked by the article on Congregation Shirat Hayam that reported that members voted to allow non-Jews to become full members who can serve on boards and vote in annual meetings (“As intermarriage spreads, synagogues find ways to welcome non-Jews,” Jewish Journal, June 13). My ancestors and the hundreds of millions of Jews who were murdered in almost every country in the world simply because they prayed to a different God would turn in their grave.
Did the Jews who remained faithful to their God during the inquisitions die in vain for refusing to accept the Christian God? To allow non-Jews to participate and vote on selecting the Rabbi of a congregation, or be involved in choosing the instructors who will teach their children Jewish education, or decide on the rules and bylaws of the congregation is mind boggling.
What is perhaps even more disturbing is the apparent acceptance of the general Jewish population and the Jewish Journal. Where is the response to this happening? There must be many voices in the established Jewish community who would also find this action in violation of Jewish principles, but they seem to be lacking in awareness or unwillingness to challenge. The many silent and absent voices of the Jewish Community before and during the Second World War was a disgrace. We are the first to stand up for social and societal principles, but do not seem to respond similarly to Jewish issues.
To respond to the needs of intermarriages in which one member is not a converted Jew is important. But would a Catholic or Protestant Church ever permit a Jew to become a member participating in all the rites and voting in their elections?
I leave your readers with that thought.
Milton Lapkin, Ph.D., Boston