On December 1 Chicago Reader published an article entitled “Rabbis’ Rules.” It highlighted the position of Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz, who said, “We could not condone the idea of counseling mixed-dating couples. . . . The only counseling one should give is that one should not mix-date.” As reported in the article, this prompted a decision of Jewish Family and Community Service to cancel a workshop and dismiss a staff member. It further states, “So far the rabbis have prevailed . . . ”

The view of Rabbi Lefkowitz represents a small minority of rabbis. Overwhelmingly, the Chicago rabbinate takes every opportunity to counsel mixed-dating couples. In particular, the Reform Movement through our Outreach Program seeks out mixed-dating couples in an effort to support them work out the intricacies of their faith situations. The primary source of support is rabbis whose congregations host such programs. At best, Rabbi Lefkowitz represents himself and a few others.

As to why Jewish Family and Community Service canceled the workshop, it will have to speak for itself. If it was under the pressure of the Orthodox Jewish community, it is unfortunate for the Orthodox to represent only one segment of the Jewish community. The agency was created to serve all segments of the Jewish community. If this represents official or unofficial policy of the agency, it is regressive and not very helpful.

We will continue to reach out to mixed-dating couples and will not allow the views of Rabbi Lefkowitz to stop us or our communal agencies from caring and being available.

Rabbi Alan Bregman

Union of American Hebrew