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The Rabbis' Pictures That Stopped an Intermarriage

02/7/16
Yad L'Achim activist Rabbi Yoav Zeev Robinson
Yad L'Achim activist Rabbi Yoav Zeev Robinson

Yad L'Achim's counter-assimilation department, which has traditionally focused its efforts on Jewish women involved with non-Jewish men, has recently begun working with Jewish men contemplating marrying out.

One such story involves a young man from the center of the country who was in the process of registering with the Rabbinical Court to marry. In the course of gathering together the necessary documentation he discovered that his wife-to-be had been adopted by Jewish parents and never converted, meaning she was not Jewish. He didn't know what to do, especially considering that all the preparations had been made and the wedding was just weeks away.

He shared his quandary with a religious friend, who tried to convince him to call the wedding off. But after two days of deliberating the matter, the groom announced that he'd decided to go ahead with the wedding as scheduled.

The friend, frantic with concern, turned to Yad L'Achim and asked if someone from the organization could meet with the groom-to-be and try to prevent a mixed marriage. A Yad L'Achim activist, Rabbi Yoav Zeev Robinson, contacted the groom and arranged a meeting at his home. When he arrived he was surprised to see on the walls of the living room pictures of Rabbis, and asked who they were.

"These were my grandfathers," the groom responded with pride, "they were important Rabbis."

He described at length his relationship with his grandfathers and his deep respect for them. Rabbi Robinson seized the opportunity to pose a challenging question:
"How would your grandfathers respond if they were told that you would end up marrying a non-Jew?"
Rabbi Robinson went on to describe the dedication of his grandfathers and forebears in keeping the Torah and mitzvos during the most difficult times and how terrible it would be if he were to turn his back on his past, his heritage.

The words penetrated the young person's defenses and touched his heart. He burst out in tears, and in a voice choked with emotion announced that he would be cancelling the wedding, difficult as it may be.

Yad L'Achim was at the side of the young man and his family throughout the complicated process of cancelling the wedding on such late notice.
Today, he is taking the first steps towards strengthening himself Jewishly and drawing closer to the ways his grandfathers.

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