Post # 1
I’m Jewish and my fi is not. He is not religious at all neither is his family. He has not gone to church in 15 years. He only celebrates Christmas by having a tree and does nothing for Easter. He does not want to convert which a lot of rabbis want. I am reform but was bought up going to temple, Jewish Camp and went to Israel 2 years ago so I would really like a rabbi and not just a justice of the peace. It is very hard to get a rabbi to marry us because he is not Jewish.
Post # 3
Check out Interfaithfamily.com You an easily find an interfaith Rabbi marry you. Also check around at reform synagogues. You may not find a rabbi at the synagogue who is willing to do it but you may find that they know other rabbis who will. That is what we did and we found an awesome rabbi that way.
Post # 4
Since you asked, here are my thoughts:
A Rabbi’s job is to officiate at Jewish weddings. It is not a Jewish wedding unless both participants are, at least nominally, Jewish. The issue is not whether your fiance is church-going or decorates a tree. His degree of belief or observance is irrelevant. He simply is not Jewish and does not wish to be Jewish so why should a Rabbi join him to you in a Jewish ceremony? You will be the only Jewish person so how would it be meaningful?
The same holds true for clergy of any faith.
I would find an officiant who can bind you two together in the beliefs you actually do share, so that the ceremony is meaningful and relevant to you both.
Post # 5
@popover: Sorry but I don’t think she asked for you to tell her why she shouldn’t have a Jewish wedding. My fiance is Jewish and I am Christian and we are having a Jewish and Christian wedding. A rabbi is joining us under the jewish traditiona and a minister is joining us under the christain religion. It is very possible and very practical and very meaningful for both sides.
Post # 6
@popover: The same does not hold true for clergy of any faith. A Catholic priest will, for example, marry a Catholic and a non-Catholic, provided certain conditions are met.
@Lisamr: You really have two issues here, one practical and one theoretical. The practical issue is that with a third of the Jewish population having been killed in the Holocaust, there is considerable sentiment in much of the Jewish community against interfaith marriages. The concern is that kids who grow up in interfaith households are less likely to stay Jewish than kids who grow up in Jewish households, and thus that interfaith marriage may finish the elimination of the Jewish people started by Hitler. The truth of the matter is certainly in dispute (I was not originally Jewish, but both of my kids are), but that is the basis for a lot of Jewish objections to interfaith marriage. And that objection even if the nonJewish spouse has no faith at all. (My wife was not a member of any religion.)
The second is theoretical. Unlike a Christian marriage ceremony, a traditional Jewish ceremony does not involvve reciprocal vows between bride and groom. Instead, the groom offers the ketubah and the ring, and the bride simply accepts them. The ketubah starts with the Aramaic for, “Be my wife according to the practice of Moses and Israel.” The question becomes how a nonJewish groom could make such an offer, or a nonJewish bride could accept it, since it specifies the whole thing being under Jewish law.
All that being said, there are Reform rabbis, and Reform and Conservative cantors, who will perform interfaith marriages. If yours will not, I second the suggestion to check out Interfaithfamily.com.
Post # 7
@popover: a rabbi’s job is not to officiate at jewish weddings, it is to provide leadership and spiritual council to a community. each rabbi gets to make their own choice about whether or not they will marry an interfaith couple. there are LOTS who choose to do so.
@Lisamr: where in NY are you from? i can send you the name of the rabbi in NYC that i would have loved to officiate our wedding (FI and i have the exact same backgrounds as you and your fiance although i grew up conservative), but we decided to get married in maryland and didn’t want to pay to have him travel to us. he pretty much specializes in interfaith weddings.
Post # 8
If you’re in NYC check out lovinghearts ceremonies. It’s a rabbi and a reverend (who are married to each other!). The rabbi did my and H’s ceremony, and while it wasn’t interfaith (we’re both Jewish), he was SO flexible and basically rewrote the ceremony so it worked for us–no Hebrew, no mention of God, etc. He and his wife (or just him, if you just want a reverend) are super nice and they can work with anyone.
Post # 9
Technically to have a Jewish wedding you don’t NEED a rabbi to officiate. We had a VERY Jewish wedding officiated by a family friend (which was totally ok with our conservative rabbi). To have a Jewish wedding you need only to sign a ketubah and exchange rings and consummate the marriage but no rabbi needed for that either 🙂
If you want to use Hebrew in your ceremony (if you are incorporating the blessing of the wine or the traditional 7 blessings) you can always ask Jewish friends to help with that part. One of our groomsman did the wine and my FIL recited the 7 blessings for us.
We are both Jewish but I am a convert so all of the guests on my side were non-Jews so we found a way to have a traditional Jewish wedding that was very accessible to our non-Jewish guests,
Post # 10
You should be able to find a reform rabbi to officiate – conservative rabbis won’t (can’t) do it, but reform and reconstructionist will. Just keep looking. Good luck!
Post # 11
ladyox is right – you don’t need a rabbi! anyone can do it. you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a reform rabbi to do it though
you can also try rabbirentals if you’re not having any luck.
Post # 12
I join in the general sentiment of the PP’s. It is totally possible to find a Rabbi to officiate at your wedding, you just have to keep looking. Interfaithfamily.com is a great resource . Another option is to use a Cantor from the synagogue. I had an interfaith Catholic/Jewish ceremony last month, and we used a Cantor, and she was AMAZING. Good luck. =)
Post # 13
If you cannot find a rabbi, look for one at a reconstructionist congregation or even a cantor. Many of them tend to be more liberal.
We go to a gay friendly synagogue here in DC (we’re not gay, but we’re gay friendly! And…we can walk there from our house). The rabbi said she wouldn’t marry interfaith couples, but would happily marry same-sex Jewish couples. Now…I’m not against gay marriage at all, but this proves how open to interpretation all this mumbo jumbo is.
You can find someone…and if you’re desperate, the cantor who is officiating our wedding (also did my bat mitzvah) would probably travel.
Post # 14
I am sure you will find a Rabbi out there who will be happy to marry you. Your question was why it is difficult to find one, and the answer is that some have higher standards than others. Standards comparable to those of Catholic priests, if you will.
As 2dbride said earlier, Catholic priests will intermarry a catholic and a non-Catholic provided conditions are met. Could you share these conditions with us, please?
Why shouldn’t Rabbi’s have conditions, too? Like both parties must be Jewish, or both parties agree that they will bring up their children Jewish? Many do have requirements, and this is why all will not agree to marry non-Jewish people who have no commitment to bringing up children Jewish. Bringing up children in both faiths or celebrating “everything” is not a Jewish upbringing. If the birth of our Lord Jesus the Savior is celebrated, it ain’t a Jewish upbringing. Its a Christian upbringing where Old-Testament (Jewish) holidays are also celebrated. Celebrating Christmas and practicing Judaism are mutually exclusive. Just having a tree and not going to Church does not make celebrating Christmas more acceptable, it ignores what Christmas and Christianity is about.
Judaism and Christianity are mutually exclusive faiths. They are not merely cultures like, say, Italian and Chinese that can be blended together without losing anything. Being Jewish is not just about having a chuppah, seven blessings or eating bagels and brisket. Jews do not believe that Jesus was the messiah. He is not their Savior. They do not believe he was the son of God. These are respected Christian beliefs and contrary to Jewish beliefs. That’s why you are having trouble finding a Rabbi to marry you, and no Orthodox or Conservative Rabbi will do so.
Here is a link you may find interesting:
Post # 15
@popover: you made some good points but I’m not sure the OP was looking for an article telling her that statistically her marriage will fail – she just wants help finding a rabbi!!
Post # 16
We were initially going to have an interfaith wedding (I’m Jewish, he’s not) though things have changed a bit…but that being said, I had not too much trouble finding resources…by typing in “interfaith weddings” into google, I was brought to a link that allowed me to get an email of like, 20 or 30 rabbis in my area willing to do interfaith ceremonies. So, basically to reflect everyone else’s feedback, it can most definitely be done.
Another thing I want to add…we met with the rabbi of my parents’ synagogue (super nice liberal Conservative rabbi) and he recommended a great book…The New Jewish Wedding by Anita Diament. I suggest it to you because it sounds like you want a Jewish focused wedding, and there are parts of the book that specifically speak towards interfaith ceremony…both reasons for why certain ideas may be challenged, but also provide good ways to hold interfaith weddings and incorporate the traditional Jewish elements.
I hope you’re able to find someone the two of you are happy with!!!! Whether it be a rabbi or not 🙂