My dad had an enormous amount of confidence in me, even though at times it might have seemed somewhat misplaced for where I was in life. He really only had two rules for me growing up. One he gave me early, and one he gave me later. The rule he gave me earlier was that I could do anything I wanted in life. It didn’t matter what profession I picked, the only thing that mattered to him was that my wife was to be Jewish (whether through birth or conversion he didn’t care). That was really the only ground rule I had with him for the first few decades of my life. I could do what I wanted and explore different things. I remember I came home from college with a purple mohawk my freshman year, and my dad was not fazed. He said, “I love you, and I would walk down the street with you any time, anywhere. I am not embarrassed. I would take you to shul like this and out to dinner. I love you. You are my son. You can do anything you want as long as you marry Jewish.”And then there is this:
Intermarriage was at the top of the list (of challenges facing Jews today -CX). He saw intermarriage and assimilation as very significant threats to the Jewish people. He always felt he was at a crux because he was at the end of a line. It was his job to continue it and to make sure that he was not the last. He felt a connection to the fact that for thousands of years, Jews had been transmitting information down the generations in a certain way with certain values. I think he was very concerned that the line would end with him.