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mixed marriage.jpgYesterday, a man I know told me that he had “converted” to Barack Obama as follows. He had been trying to make up his mind between Obama and Clinton, and while Obama’s speech on race impressed him, it was not enough to cause him to get down off the fence. What did, instead, was his own decision to undertake a campaign to persuade his large conservative synagogue to take a more inclusive approach to mixed (Jewish-Gentile) marriages. His point, as I understood it, was that he realized that he could be at serious odds with other members of his religious community, including his rabbi, without separating himself from the community. Perhaps, even more, that it could be a mark of one’s commitment to the rest of the community, including and especially to those with whom one deeply disagrees, not to remove to some other place.
Whether or not “A More Perfect Union” leads to a national discussion (whatever that means) about race, I suspect that the Obama/Wright affair has caused a lot of Americans to give some thought to the nature of their voluntary communities, religious and otherwise. Whatever our conclusions, it’s not a bad thing, from time to time, to ponder what binds us together, in small groups and large, and how strong the bonds are, or should be.

  • This is exactly the kind of experience-driven “conversion” the late Joseph Campbell would have fully embraced.
    THANKS for reporting on it and may more of us know the complexity of the fabric(s) of which we are woven.