Can 'good Jews' marry out?
First of all, anything specifically for interfaith families is classified as 'outreach'. This gives an impression like this:
If anything catering to interfaith families is 'outreach' it implies that all interfaith families must be 'outside' of the group of Jews who are inside the fold of good, involved Jews. This just doesn't match my experience of Jews in interfaith relationships. Obviously there's sampling bias, I know most of my Jewish friends through religious activities so obviously all of my Jewish friends are more likely to be religiously involved, but still, it proves we exist. Does it make sense to talk about outreach to the girl who organised the J-soc ball and ran the J-soc kitchen for a year? I also don't think that my friends are as aberrant as most people think. One of my friends claims that about half the regulars at my shul are in interfaith families. I don't know because you can't tell with most people. In terms of synagogue attendance, there doesn't seem to be much difference between interfaith families and single faith families. One thing I have noticed is that I don't think that the families who are involved in the running of the shul, the people on the important committees, are in interfaith relationships. This could be my imagination and lack of knowledge but I think it's the case.
This would match my feeling about the situation of interfaith families in Jewish communities. It is really easy in non-Orthodox communities to be an ordinary active Jew in an interfaith relationship. There are enough of us that the stigma can't persist at a level which is high enough to keep us out of shul. However, if you want to move on to take any kind of leadership position in the Jewish community, the stigma surrounding having a non-Jewish spouse will start to be enough to be a barrier. Sometimes this barrier is explicit. There are no rabbinic colleges which would accept a student with a non-Jewish partner. You can be as shomer kashrut, as shomer shabbat as you like, but if you're married to a shiksa there's no place for you. I have had conversations with women who want to be shomer niddar but are terrified that they will be found out as having a non-Jewish husband and excluded from the mikvah. This isn't a baseless fear as I've also heard of women actually being excluded from a mikvah because their husband isn't Jewish. I think a more subtle internalized pressure exists in other realms, that if you tried to enter leadership positions in Jewish institutions you'd be getting above your place. I don't know if this is my imagination, but it seems far more of a barrier to Jewish involvement than the inherent difficulties of managing a household which contains more than one faith.
I think that this leads to a sort of circular logic in relationship to interfaith families. Jews in interfaith relationships are seen as not as committed to Judaism and this is proven by looking around the Jewish leadership and seeing the lack of intermarried Jews. This impression can then be used to exclude intermarried Jews from those positions of leadership because marrying a Jew is used as a shibboleth of whether you're a committed Jew. Referring to all worked targeted at interfaith families as 'outreach' only reinforces this exclusionary meme.
So what do I want? I want Jewish institutions to accept the fact that there are good, involved committed Jews who are married to non-Jews and the how the way in which they frame including interfaith families in Jewish communities actually has exclusionary effects upon these Jews. I want the dialogue of how to live as interfaith families to move on from just 'the December Dilemma' and conversion. Jews are living rich authentic observant lives in interfaith families and the rest of the Jewish community isn't providing what they need because it isn't talking about hot to practice family purity when one partner isn't Jewish, it isn't talking about how shabbat and Pesach when one person in a family isn't obligated, it isn't talking about what mitzvot a non-Jewish father can help his Jewish children to observe, it isn't talking about halachic frameworks for acknowledging interfaith marriages. Ultimately I want not marrying a non-Jew to stop being the ultimate test of whether someone is a good Jew. I'm happy for rabbinic colleges to look favourably upon intramarriage but I want them to treat it the same as other mitzvot, the practice of which aren't an automatic deciding factor. Today, people don't marry out because they aren't committed to Judaism, they marry out because they fall in love with a non-Jew and they don't think that intermarriage is an ultimate taboo and they've seen happy interfaith families, so on the balance of things they go with their heart and try to work out a way in which their love for their spouse and their religion can coexist.