New Book Presents Rebbeim’s Response to Intermarriage

“In Response To Intermarriage” is a newly released book presenting the view of the Chabad Rebbeim on intermarriage. The creation of this work was spearheaded by Rabbi Yaakov Krasnianski, who granted an exclusive interview about the project.

“In Response To Intermarriage” is a newly released book presenting the view of the Chabad Rebbeim on intermarriage. The creation of this work was spearheaded by Rabbi Yaakov Krasnianski, who granted an exclusive interview about the project.

Anash Magazine: In your own words, briefly describe the book. What is it exactly and what should a potential reader expect to find inside?

R. Krasnianski: “In Response To Intermarriage” is a comprehensive compilation encompassing all of the material available from the Chabad Rebbeim on the topic of intermarriage, bringing together all of the many letters, Sichos, and stories directly related to this subject. All of the content in the book is sourced, and has been translated into readable English alongside the original text.

Anash Magazine: What was the inspiration for you to undertake such a project?

R. Krasnianski: Aside from feeling that something had to be done to help combat the alarming and ever-growing rate of intermarriage—well above 60%—and beyond the Rebbe’s urgent and earnest words on the topic—for a long time now I have felt personally connected to this issue, bearing an individual burden of responsibility to help turn the tide. 

I had the privilege of being born and raised on Shlichus on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. And growing up in such a secular and unaffiliated community, where intermarriage is rampant, I have seen up close and witnessed firsthand, time and again, the unavoidable devastation, pain, and heartbreak caused by intermarriage. It is difficult to see such things and then continue to look the other way, when you know that through your efforts and actions you might be able to prevent another similar tragedy from occurring.

Anash Magazine: Can you share with us some real-life experiences?

R. Krasnianski: Absolutely. Here is just a brief sample of some of the situations that have come through our doors in the last year or two (every Shliach today is being confronted with similar or nearly identical cases on a constant basis):

A mother, heartbroken and devastated at the fact that her son intends to marry a non-Jewish woman and end the Jewish family line, when she herself is intermarried. A young and successful Israeli man, who has only recently been introduced to and fell in love with Yiddishkeit for the first time, but who has been married for more than a decade to a non-Jewish woman, who is not the least bit interested in pursuing any form of conversion. The couple has two children together, further complicating the situation.

He has repeatedly told me that the kibbutz he was raised in was so secular, that not a single person in his entire family or community had even warned him of the complications and heartache that would inevitably result from choosing to intermarry.

An offended grandfather, yelling at my sister for not accepting his non-Jewish grandchild into our summer camp, when another Chabad camp readily accepted them last summer.

Anash Magazine: What do you hope to achieve with the book?

R. Krasnianski: First and foremost, the book is intended to serve as an authoritative guide and go-to resource for Shluchim, as well as anyone in a position to combat and prevent intermarriage in all of its many forms. Unfortunately, there is today so much confusion and misinformation surrounding the official stance of our Rebbeim and of Halacha on the topics of intermarriage, conversion, and the acceptance of non-Jewish children into Jewish institutions. 

This book is intended to serve as a wake-up call and bring much-needed clarity to these subjects. Anyone who reads the powerful and eye-opening content contained in this book will walk away with a sense of clarity, feeling more empowered, confident, and equipped to navigate the tough conversations surrounding this issue and to confront intermarriage head-on.

Interviewer: How long did it take you to produce this sefer?

R. Krasnianski: There were obviously various different stages to the process, but all in all it took just a little over a year-and-a-half of work to create a book that met our standards, and which we felt was ready for print.

Anash Magazine: Did you not feel that perhaps there were others more experienced and qualified than yourself to undertake this project?

R. Krasnianski: It’s honestly quite surprising that in all the years since these letters were first published, no one seized the opportunity to put together such a book earlier. However, I took much encouragement from the story of Pinchas, where the Torah teaches us that the issue of intermarriage is not something that will necessarily be rectified by the efforts of Beis Din or by the central leadership of Am Yisroel, but by individuals acting on their own accord, men and women who are ready to take up the spear of Pinchas and execute the Rebbe’s words.

The book is available for purchase at Crown Heights bookstores and online.

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