Dear Rabbi Ploni,
My son George came home from camp very upset today. Specifically, he was upset about something that he heard during your shiur. He reports that you told your shiur that anyone who marries a non-Jew will burn in Gehenim forever.
I would ask that in the future you please be a little more thoughtful about making broad sweeping statement of this type in the shiur. Unfortunately, in our family, we have family members who are intermarried. These are relatives that George (and the rest of our family) love and care for, despite the choice of spouse. I can certainly appreciate the necessity of educating our youth that intermarriage is wrong and is one of the greatest wrongs that a Jew can do today. Nonetheless, telling a child (and yes, even a pre-teen) that someone that they care about is bound to hell forever is highly traumatic and unnecessary. You can easily make the point that it is wrong without having to “scare them straight;” after all, we’re talking about pre-teens here – they’re not going to be marrying *anyone* for quite a few years.
I understand that this was not done out of malice on your part. You probably could not fathom the idea that a frum family would have relatives who are intermarried. Sad to say, however, this is the case and we must deal with it as we can. I ask that in the future you please consider the fact that not all families are in ideal circumstances and that there are children who, because of the nature of their families, can and will be hurt by broad generalizations of eternal condemnation of people whom they know and love.
If you wish to discuss this matter further, I will be happy to make myself available to you in the evenings. I can be reached by phone at [[phone number edited out]]
[[Non Wolfish Name]]