According to Reform doctrine, is it 1. permissible for rabbis to marry non-Jewish spouses, and 2. advisable for them to do so, considering that rabbis are generally seen as role-models of proper Jewish behavior? In other words, can Reform rabbis have non-Jewish spouses, and if they can, should they?

Follow-up question: Should a synagogue or other religious institution hire a person for a rabbinical position who is married to a non-Jew?

I did some "research" on this topic, and found the following articles, which seem to just argue the sides without providing any real sources:

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    @IsaacMoses - I'm moving that information into a comment, since it does muddle the question a bit. I'm looking for answers with sources, not just articles that recapitulate the debate.
    – Shmuel
    May 17, 2013 at 17:41
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    – Shimon bM
    May 20, 2013 at 14:14
  • Seems the only questions about non-orthodox opinions are the upvoted are ones that fit into Orthodox stereotypes of non-orthodox problems.
    – Double AA
    May 1, 2014 at 6:04

1 Answer 1


The current policy of Hebrew Union College - the primary Reform seminary in the United States (and thus I presume the world) - is not to admit rabbinic candidates with non-Jewish "significant others." This policy is currently being questioned in the blogosphere.

From their website:

Current policy states that applicants who are married to or in committed relationships with non-Jews will not be considered for acceptance to this program.

Hebrew College of Boston (which, though not affiliated with the Reform movement, does graduate rabbis who lead Reform synagogues) has a similar requirement (pdf).

I am not aware of any policy regarding what should happen to a rabbi if they were ordained by HUC and later married someone non-Jewish.

My understanding is that conceptually, Reform Judaism permits intermarriage, but a policy was developed that it would look wrong if a rabbi was not publicly committed enough to choose a Jewish spouse, or something to that effect.

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    According to a Reform rabbi I asked, the Reform governing rabbinical body (CCAR) does not have such a policy, and if a rabbi marries a non-Jew after they have been ordained, they are not kicked out or barred from being a rabbi. But I was unable to find any official responsa or webpage with that policy.
    – Shmuel
    May 17, 2013 at 18:07
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    I don't know if the CCAR has a position on this (I would think it would at least be strongly discouraged), but I can confirm the HUC policy from personal experience. (This wouldn't be a barrier for me, but the question came up in a discussion with them about admission to their program.) May 17, 2013 at 18:22
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    Hebrew College of Boston is not affiliated with the Reform or any other movement May 17, 2013 at 21:32

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