Member Who Married Out is Refused Aliyah


shul-bimahThe JC reports: A member of Newcastle’s Orthodox shul who married a non-Jew claims he was refused a call-up on his father’s yahrzeit for an aliyah. David Biermann, 65, requested the aliyah from the United¬†Hebrew Congregation to mark the 13th anniversary of his father’s death. He said he was told the shul’s by-laws did not allow this for someone who had married out.”I felt extremely upset. I am particularly distressed at what I consider the callous action of the shul.

“Yes, I can pray for my father, yes, the rabbi will say a prayer for him, yes, I can be called to make a minyan, yes, I can give money at Yom Kippur, but no, I cannot myself pay a tribute to my father at the bimah. Why not?”

It was an attitude “unfitting of a tolerant Jewish community under a wise Chief Rabbi seeking to share its faith with those of other religious beliefs,” he said.

Dr Biermann added: “Being refused an aliyah as a result of my marrying a Christian lady some 11 years ago is discrimination against me and members of my family.”

He had remained a member after marriage because of his love of the Orthodox shul traditions. “I go about once a month. Earlier this year I wrote to the shul to ask why I had never been asked to open the ark or go to the bimah, even though I have been asked to make up a minyan. I didn’t receive a reply.”

UHC Rabbi Dovid Lewis said: “It’s an on-going case which we are discussing with the Beis Din, which is advising us. Until it’s cleared up, we do not want to comment further.”

But the London Beis Din defended a rabbi’s right to uphold “a longstanding practice in a number of provincial communities.”

The Chief Rabbi’s office said it was “a local matter” relating to a shul’s protocol.

{The JC/}


  1. That’s what happens when you anger G-D by marrying out. They shouldn’t even take your money which you probley made on the holy of holy days, Shabbos which you profamed.

  2. Good for the shul. His family should haved sat shiva for him when he married a shiksa. And he shouldn’t count for a minyan or get any recognition until he does teshuva and divorces the goyta.

  3. what would you do in a situation where a secular jew marries a non-jew, but becomes a ba’al teshuvah later in life, in all aspects except they are still married to the non jew?

  4. How is it that someone who married a non-Jewess is allowed to be a member of a Shul that calls itself Orthodox? He is allowed to participate in a Minyan, and the Shul accepts his money?

    Not to mention that this man is a hypocrite. He breaks Jewish law by marrying a non-Jewess; and then he wonders why this same law does not allow him an Aliyah?

  5. people don’t realize that EVERYTHING that we do can be a ‘zchus’ or ‘chas vishalom’, the opposite for a parent.NOT just saying kaddish or getting an aliya.

    Certainly “marrying out” is no great zechus

  6. let him go up to the sefer Torah to be mekabel all malchus shamayim
    so that he should get the devine koach and hepl to do teshuvah shleima.
    there are many people married with goyim around and they will not return to yiddishkeit if pushed away.
    the thind with the interrmarriages has become a real problem in the yiddishe world and it will not go away by such childish actions.
    such people should be taken care about. put mezuzot on their door post, put tefilin on them , learn Torah kedosha with them and show them the real yiddishkeit which has the onliest and greatest messages for this world.
    may we enlighten this world as we enlighten the chanukiot .

  7. We don’t know the details. But I recently met some one who just found out recently that he was born Jewish. His mother was a holocaust survivor and hid this from him. He has been married to his non jewish wife for 30 years! He has started keeping torah and mitzvos but he is in a quandary as to what to do about his wife! Like he says what am I supposed to do just abandon her?

  8. Cannot be counted for a minyan and cannot be called for the torah. He said himself “tolerant of other religious practices”, well in that case why is an aliyah a tribute to your dad?

  9. Commengts 9 and 10 are offensive to those of any faith.Re 9 I am NOT my wife.
    Re 10 How can it be “callous” for me to wish to pay a tribute at the bimah in my Schul to my late father? He would have been delighted and honoured to have known my dear wife.