We have recently been invited to an engagement of a Girl who intends marrying someone that is not Jewish. However, the girl and her family are related family members.

Firstly, is it permitted (in general circumstances) to attend such an event? Or, is there a basis that perhaps it may be seen as condoning such a union? Could it even be considered prohibited, or not?

Secondly, does the fact the girl is related change anything, in the sense that we have to consider that she might be hurt and offended by our non-attendance? I.e. If there is a basis for the first question, does anything change in this case?



2 Answers 2


I would say that the "engagement" "celebration would probably be seen as accepting the intended "marriage" as valid. One hashkafic discussion of this is in A People of Destiny

Note that "The Rav" referred to below is Joseph B. Soloveitchik who is called "The Rav" by those who learned at Yeshiva Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan (Yeshiva University).

Against this background of destiny and identity many halachic social constraints on Jewish-gentile relations can be understood and, in paramount, the egregiousness of intermarriage stands out. Intermarriage Rachaman litslan destroys Jewish identity and prevents the rendezvous with Jewish destiny. Accordingly, the Rav zt"l was absolutely adamant regarding the ban on attending an intermarriage. Often we try to rationalize and justify attendance of such weddings. We reason that if the Jewish partner comes from an assimilated background and was never exposed to Yahadus, what right do we have to judge him/her and boycott the wedding. Why should a ba'al teshuva strain family relations by absenting himself/herself from a sibling's wedding? After all, it is not the sibling's fault.

But, of course, that line of reasoning is fallacious. In refusing to attend an intermarriage we are not judging another individual. Only the Rebbono Shel Olam can pass judgment on one's liability, and to what extent extenuating circumstances should be taken into account. But although we refrain from judging individuals and affixing individual liability in such cases, we can and must judge actions and courses of action. Unquestionably, intermarriage is anathema because it destroys Jewish identity and destiny. Accordingly, it is nothing less than a chilul Hashem to be present at such a marriage. One can not attend a wedding as a conscientious objector. By attending, one eo ipso joins in celebrating. A Jew can not under any circumstances celebrate the partial destruction of Jewish identity.

With this same compelling line of reasoning in mind, the Rav was also equally adamant that subsequent to the wedding intermarried "couples" must not be included in family gatherings or invited to family semachos, and the like. Inviting the couple as such eo ipso acknowledges and accepts their illicit marriage. Under no circumstances may this acceptance be forthcoming. Let us not delude ourselves into thinking that we would be simply maintaining relations for purposes of kiruv. To the contrary, we are being m'sa'yai'a yedei ovrei aveira, strengthening the hands of those living in sin and creating a chilul Hashem.

May Hakadosh Baruch Hu save us from nisyonos and guide us all along His path of Torah u'mitzvos.

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Similarly at Relatives Not Attending Intermarriage

However, since each case can be different, then a rav who is an expert in such matters should be consulted as to the best way to handle it.


There are those who would argue that if you maintain ties, they're more likely to have a warmer sense of Judaism or the like. There is also an interesting opinion (Ramban) that while it's wrong either way, there is more of a sense of outrage when a Jewish man marries out than a Jewish woman, as at least in the latter case the children will still be Jewish.

However generally speaking, there is a prohibition of chanufah, endorsing a prohibited action. If a gangster walks up to you and says "I'm a nice guy, right?", answering in the [very frightened] affirmative isn't endorsing one particular action per se. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein discusses giving synagogue honors to a sinner -- we're not condoning or endorsing any particular action of theirs. But attending an engagement party (or wedding) for an intermarriage really, really looks and sounds like you are offering your endorsement regarding a specific prohibited act.

As always, ask your rabbi.

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