- Jewish friend or relative marrying a non Jew – This is clearly the most common situation out there. In the same category is a non Jewish friend or relative marrying a Jew. While less common, this is still a real life situation. Before I became religious, one of my roommates and best friends was a Non Jew. He married a Jewish girl. While these wedding invitations can cause a lot of stress, it appears to be a prohibition to attend the wedding ceremony or reception. Attending a inter marriage wedding would be a prohibition of Chillul Hashem or desecration of G-ds name. The source comes from Leviticus (Vayikra) chapter 22, verse 32.
- Jewish friend or relative marrying a non Jew who went through a non-orthodox conversion. - This is a little different then case 1 and 2. When marrying a non Jew, most Jews no that this is a violation of Jewish law and do it anyway. When marrying a non-orthodox convert, the Jew may not know they’re doing anything wrong according to Jewish law. Needless to say, an orthodox convert is treated as a natural born Jew in every regard. In fact, we have to be more sensitive to their background. One should never verbalize a doubt as to the sincerity of an orthodox convert. While traditional Judaism doesn’t recognize the validity of the conversion, there may be some room here to attend the wedding since the participants are not knowingly transgressing the word of G-d.
- Marriage between two non Jews – Since it’s a mitzvah for non Jews to marry each other, there is no problem in attending their wedding as long as the celebration doesn’t take place somewhere where there are statues or paintings of things that they consider divine. In simpler English, stay out of catholic churches. Mosques and quaker meeting houses are probably OK since they don’t create any physical symbols of G-d.
Now that we’ve discussed what you can’t do, let’s talk about what you can do.
The key to navigating through this is the same as most areas in life. If your relationship with the person is on solid footing and built on a respect of the choices that each of us make, it will survive. It’s our job to nurture those relationships so they can get through challenges no matter what they are.