Post # 1
My wedding is still in the very early, preliminary stages of planning, but I’m already concerned about how we are going to find an officiant. My fiance is Jewish and would like to have a Jewish wedding, which I would love. I think Jewish weddings are beautiful and deeply meaningful, and I would love to have a chuppah. I am not Jewish (was raised pretty much religion-less, but celebrating the major Christian holidays), and don’t plan on converting.
Does anyone have experience in finding a rabbi to marry a Jewish man to a non-Jewish woman? We will most likely not be getting married near his hometown, so asking his own rabbi is not really an option.
Also, it’s pretty important to me for us to write our own vows. How much of a Jewish ceremony is flexible?
Thanks for all the help! : )
Post # 3
Congratulations on getting engaged!! I married a Jewish man, and although I did convert, I can still answer your questions fairly well.
We’re Reform Jews, and although I’m not sure what form of Judaism your Fiance practices, your best bet for a rabbi who will marry you would be a Reform rabbi. It varies from individual to individual, but most rabbis who do interfaith ceremonies are Reform. I would ask your FI’s parents to ask around in the Jewish community to find someone for you, or you could even google it.
I know one of the Reform rabbis in town here used to have a website for his officiant duties because he did a TON of interfaith weddings.
You can have a chuppah and maybe you’d even want a ketubah, which is the Jewish marriage contract. You can check some of them out here.
If you can find a rabbi flexible enough to do an interfaith ceremony, he should give you a good amount of flexibility in what you say to each other throughout the ceremony. We did traditional vows, but that was because we chose not to write our own. I didn’t think that I’d be able to make it through the vows without crying, so I figured we’d be better off sticking with regular ones.
Good luck with the planning!
Post # 4
I think if you are willing to do a Jewish ceremony (rather than an interfaith ceremony with Christian and Jewish traditions), it shouldn’t be very hard to find a rabbi to marry you. We found some leads just by searching online and asking other interfaith couples on websites like this one. It might cost $500-$1000 (Based on my experience), and they are usually pretty flexible.
Post # 5
- Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch
Most Reform rabbis will perform marriages for interfaith couples. You can check http://www.interfaithfamily.com/ for a list of references.
Post # 6
Wow, thanks so much for the quick and informative responses!
@QueenBecca037 Alright, to be perfectly honest, we haven’t even been officially engaged yet, but I want to inform myself well about as much of the religious stuff as I can before getting into the discussions with his parents. Knowledge is never a bad thing, right? He is also Reform, so that should make finding a rabbi a bit easier. We haven’t talked specifically about the ketubah yet, but I’m sure that will be something that is important to him. I also don’t think I’ll be able to read my own vows without crying, but it’s still important to me, tears and all. Do you mind if I ask you about your experience converting? I don’t plan on it, but again, knowledge! Thanks so much for sharing.
@GirlWithARing Yes, the ceremony will definitely be Jewish. I assume you’re planning an interfaith wedding?
@spaniel Thanks for the link, I will definitely check it out!
Post # 7
It’s good to be thinking about this sort of thing before you get engaged!! Like I said, I converted before we got married, and because it takes a year, I started the process before we got engaged. Although I started the process under the assumption that we would be getting engaged. When my husband asked me if I was ready to start the conversion process I said “so is this sort of you preemptively asking me to marry you??” and he said yes. Haha.
The process took a year and I had to learn about and celebrate all the Jewish holidays. Our process was a bit more relaxed than some others I’ve heard of, because our rabbi was in Florida (at my in-laws synagogue) and we were living in Georgia where we went to school. We’d have phone dates with the rabbi once a month and we’d meet with him in person when we were home for the holidays. Overall it was a fairly easy and informative process.
I was never a hard core Catholic before, so converting wasn’t a huge change for me. My parents were totally cool with it, which was sort of surprising, but I did it for the sake of our future children. I knew my husband wanted to raise our kids Jewish, and it would just be easier if we were all the same religion. We’ll still celebrate Christmas, but it’ll be about Santa and not Jesus.
If you have any more questions, just ask, I’m happy to answer them!!
Post # 8
I am a Catholic bride, and my fiance is Jewish. We couldn’t find a Rabbi to co-officiate, so we just got a Cantor from a synagogue (Cantors have the power to marry in the Jewish faith), and I am in the process of getting a priest to perform the Christian portion of the ceremony.
Even though you aren’t having an “interfaith” ceremony, a WONDERFUL book I have been reading is called “Celebrating Interfaith Marriages: Creating Your Jewish/Christian Ceremony” by Rabbi Devon Lerner. I cannot say enough about how helpful this book has been to me in planning my wedding. I got it on Amazon for like 12 bucks. It would be a great book for you to read- it’s not all interfaith- there are sections in there for planning a Jewish wedding as well. It has been enormously helpful and can help answer many of your questions.
Best of luck to you! 🙂
Post # 9
I am doing the same thing as you; I am marrying a Jewish man and we are having a Jewish ceremony. We found a Reform rabbi in the area that frequently performs interfaith ceremonies and she told us that we can personalize parts, such as the vows, and we can add things as long as there are no references to Jesus (not a problem for us).
Good luck in finding your Rabbi!
Post # 10
@Monkeygirl Thanks for the book suggestion! I will definitely look into it, sounds like it would have some really important and useful information!
@Miss Root Thanks a lot for that information, very helpful. I suppose it’s mostly about finding the right rabbi for what we want to include in the ceremony. Did you find it difficult at all to find a rabbi to marry you and fiance (being that you are not Jewish)? And, if you don’t mind me asking, did she charge any additional fee for the ceremony? I’ve heard that some rabbis charge a larger fee for interfaith ceremonies, so I was wondering if it might be similar for this situation.
Post # 11
Im jewish and my Boyfriend or Best Friend is not.. but more than likely we will have a Justice of the Peace marry us.. We both want certain things in the wedding from both of our faiths so to us it just seemed fitting.
Post # 12
kirabee- we didn’t find it difficult at all. We actually took an Introduction to Judaism class last summer and she was one of the rabbis that taught the class. She had mentioned during the class that she performs tons of interfaith marriages, and I loved her teaching style, so she was a great fit for us. We don’t know right now if there is going to be a fee (FI forgot to ask her when we met with her- oops!!!) but I suppose it’s possible, especially since we are not members of her synagogue.
I would just check in your area for Reform synagogues and start emailing Rabbis to find out if they perform interfaith ceremonies. As long as their rabbinical organization does not forbid it, they should be able to perform your ceremony, particularly since you said you want to have a Jewish ceremony. And as far as finding out if the rabbi is right for you guys, I would suggest attending shabbat services some Saturday to check out how they speak in public. We were able to weed out some of our choices that way, since we were not impressed with some of the rabbis (some of them were kind of dry and boring).
I hope this helps!
Post # 13
We had a rabbi for our interfaith wedding. (Well, “interfaith” is a bit of an overstatement, since my wife has no faith at all, but she definitely is not Jewish.) We tried about four Reform rabbis who would not perform such ceremonies. (Interestingly, none of them had an issue with a same-sex wedding, but all had an issue with an interfaith wedding.) However, someone in the congregation of the last one we tried referred us to a rabbi who would perform such ceremonies. His fees were high, but he worked with us throughout the planning process, and was very flexible in the ceremony details. Checking with http://www.interfaithfamily.com/ or Googling “rabbi interfaith wedding” plus the name of the town may help you find rabbis open to performing such weddings.
Post # 14
- Wedding: June 2010 - New York Botanical Garden
i would definitely check out the book “the new jewish wedding” by anita diamant…it is very helpful in understanding Jewish wedding traditions and goes into depth about the ceremony, etc. I think you will find it very interesting (my fiance and I are both Jewish, and I still got this book for myself, our moms and sisters!)
Post # 15
- Wedding: June 2010 - Tannery Pond at the Darrow School
If your soon-to-be fiance is Reform, then it’s definitely possible that even his family’s Rabbi could be the one to marry you two, especially since you mentioned that it would be a Jewish wedding and not an interfaith wedding…I would be very surprised if you had much trouble finding a Rabbi, as long as they are Reform…Good luck and def ask any more questions you can think of, it can never hurt!
Post # 16
I am so excited that you are wanting a Jewish wedding…I have never been to one but they seem to be so beautiful and really meaningful.
my fiance and I are Non-Jews but we live under the covenant of noah (Bnei Noahs/Noahides). our Rabbi, an Orthodox Rabbi, will be officiating our wedding! This is so exciting for us. I was just thinking if you live in the indiana/illinois area I could give you some suggestions.
We have yet to meet with him regarding details of the wedding because he lives 7 hours away but from what i have read it should be pretty flexible.
But we do plan our having a Chuppah and a Ketubah. Not sure if we can break glass and/or what the Rabbi plans on saying…I am so eager to know!!!