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Ben Shapiro, 16, vice president for communications of USY’s Far West region, said the firestorm of criticism after the teens’ vote shocked him when some interpreted the move as “signaling the end of Conservative Judaism as we know it.” He said he can see why people might think USY’s stance on dating outside the fold had softened.

The original phrasing calls on USY leaders to “refrain” from dating non-Jews; the new wording speaks of “recognizing the importance of dating within the Jewish community.” The intention, though, Shapiro said, was to make the language more inclusive out of respect to USY leaders who have a non-Jewish parent — not to make it more acceptable for USY leaders to date non-Jews.

But not everyone is so convinced that the teens’ vote and the demise of Gardenswartz’s proposal simply reinforce the status quo.

In various corners of the Conservative community, it appears as if some are mulling — for better or worse — a loosening of the rules that govern dating and marriage.

David Benkof, former international USY president , warned in The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday (Jan.

6) that the Conservative teens were taking their cues from their elders: “On issues relating to endogamy (marrying within the community,) the adult leaders of Conservative Judaism don’t always seem to know what they want — and when they do, what they want is not always ‘good for the Jews.'” To Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Conservative movement stands at the same crossroads where the Reform stood about a generation ago.

(RNS) Whether Jews should only date and marry other Jews is not a new question, but it’s one that has come into stark relief in recent weeks.

In two separate instances in December, groups within Conservative Judaism — the second-largest movement of American Jews — appeared to challenge some of their own rules that discourage interfaith dating and matrimony: Unlike rabbis in Reform Judaism, the largest American stream of Judaism, Conservative rabbis may not preside at interfaith marriages.

That change did not sit well with many, even within Reform Judaism.

But there is an opposite line of reasoning: Make it easy for people to intermarry, and they will.

According to the Pew Research Center’s 2013 study of American Jews, the more traditional the movement, the more likely its members to marry other Jews.

It’s important to me and my family that we are married by a Rabbi. Dear Rabbi, I will be married (very soon) to a Jewish woman.

I am not Jewish, but would very much like to include several of the Jewish traditions in our wedding, to embrace her heritage as well.

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