(Closed) Is it inauthentic to have a jewish ceremony when we're not practicing?

posted 6 years ago in Jewish
  • poll: Is it inauthentic to have a jewish ceremony when we're no longer practicing jews?
    Yes---if you are not a practicing jew, it is offensive to have a jewish ceremony. : (26 votes)
    16 %
    No-- it's okay because you come from a jewish background and culturally identify as jewish. : (121 votes)
    75 %
    Meh- it's not ideal, but it's still okay. : (14 votes)
    9 %
  • Post # 3
    47261 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @gromble:  No more inauthentic than all the Christians who don’t go to church but feel the need to be  married in one.

    Post # 4
    1161 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    @gromble:  I’ve been to a jewish ceremony where neither bride nor groom practised but they grew up in households which did. No one bat an eye, I never even considered it being inappropriate! I think its more a nod to your heritage than a religious thing, and I couldn’t see anyone else thinking otherwise 🙂

    On that note Ive also been to two weddings with christian ceremonies (one was a full mass, ugh!) and none of them went to regular church or mass, and I am fairly sure about 50% of the christian ceremonies around are done with brides and grooms who don’t attend church on a regular basis or anything like that… No one cares 🙂

    Post # 5
    984 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    @julies1949:  +1 I was going to say the same thing!

    I would guess very few people follow all the rules of their religions. I don’t know if that means they don’t deserve to marry in their place of worship but you’re certainly not an outlier.

    Post # 7
    2890 posts
    Sugar bee

    Being born and raised Catholic (though in an unpracticing family, even if I had all sacraments then confirmation at age 12), I now consider myself an Agnostic, ever since I’ve turned 18. I do go to church when the events are held there (ex.: baptism, wedding or funerals), but I abstain from communion because I don’t consider myself Catholic anymore, I don’t have the faith, and that is also why we are not getting married in a church. 

    However, my Future Sister-In-Law got married in church even though she was not practicing. So did my cousin, and she baptized both her kids. There is a part of tradition, too. I would never judge them, because this choice belongs to them, and only they know what’s in their heart, and how they feel about it. Just because Fiance and I would feel ”unauthentic” and decided not to get married in church, doesn’t mean we expect everybody to do the same.

    I don’t know much about Judaism, but I always had the feeling being Jew was closely related to culture and tradition. That you could not ”become” a Jew, your mom had to be one for you to be Jew, or something like that (correct me if I’m wrong). So from an outsider’s perspective, it doesn’t feel unenthentic to me to see a couple having a traditional jewish ceremony even if they don’t practice, I would think it’s also part of their culture. However, your Fiance has to be on board. He has to feel comfortable having maybe to swear before a god that he might not believe in. That’s the part that I think is extremely personal and both of you have to feel comfortable in this situation. 

    Post # 8
    3371 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    @NauticalDisaster:  + 1 From my knowledge of Judaism (gained from Jewish friends and exes), it often seems more intertwined with family/tradition/cultural identity rather than just religious faith.

    Personally I wouldn’t be surprised, as a guest, if a non-practising Jewish couple chose to have a Jewish ceremony. 

    Post # 9
    7553 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: January 2013

    I could go either way but I wouldn’t do it because of your mother’s wishes. Focus on why you want the ceremony and why your Fiance doesn’t. Try to compromise based on both of your desires.

    Post # 11
    468 posts
    Helper bee

    One of my friends is half jewish and half catholic, and got married to a protestant.  They ended up having a jewish ceremony, because she preferred a jewish ceremony.  She celebrated jewish and christian holidays, and her hubby was agnostic.  No one thought it was  inauthentic or odd. I thought it was quite beautiful actually.  

    Post # 12
    9681 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    @julies1949:  +1.

    OP, I wouldn’t be worried about offending people, I would be worried about being true to what is meaningful to you as a couple. If having a Jewish ceremony isn’t important to you or a part of your life that you currently identify with, I’d opt to do something that is.

    Post # 13
    9681 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper


    ETA: I just noticed that your partner isn’t on board – it should be a reflection of what you both want, not what you nagged him into wanting. You can easily incorporate some Jewish cultural elements into a different type of ceremony. We will be including our Russian heritage in our wedding but it will not be the focal point.

    Post # 14
    11744 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @gromble:  This is somethign the two of you will have to agree on. As a compromise, you could incorporate elements of the Jewish faith into your ceremony, without having a full on Jewish ceremony.  My husband and I are interfaith (he is Catholic, I am Jewish) but neither of us practice.   It was important for our parents to incorporate some aspects, so we obliged.  We got married by a Justice of the Peace under a Chuppah.  We had a unity candle ceremony, had a biblical reading and broke the glass. Everyone seemed happy and we all got a little bit of what we wanted.

    Your ceremony should reflect you as a couple and should be what you both want and are comfortable with.  There’s plenty of room for middle ground here.

    Post # 15
    3400 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    @gromble:  I used to live in Israel & definitely feel like a much larger piece of how people identify as “Jewish” is about culture rather than religion. Obviously it didn’t used to be that way, but that’s the norm now days & I think for you to have a Jewish wedding it is definitely still authentic because it is a display of culture & tradition.


    Post # 16
    3316 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2009

    One of the nice things about Judaism is that even under the most Orthodox tradition, once you are Jewish, you stay Jewish.  Thus, you’re not having to force yourself to believe something that doesn’t seem right to you, just to be part of the religion.  So you’re as entitled to a Jewish ceremony as anyone else, assuming you want one.

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