Post # 1
Sorry this is so long. My fiance and I belong to a temple and have been attending services pretty regularly. I am in the process of coverting to Judaism and have been working one on one with a Rabbi that I adore. I asked her early on (a few months ago) whether she would be available to officiate our wedding and she said she didn’t see why not since she didn’t have anything scheduled for Oct. 2013 yet.
Well, I was just informed by my Rabbi that she might not be renewing her contract with the temple, and won’t know for sure whether or not she will be with the temple in the fall of 2013. It gets worse, if her contract is not renewed she will be heading to the mid-west so we would have to fly her in for our wedding if we wanted her to officiate.
I don’t know what to do. When should we secure our officiant? Should we risk waiting until the Spring to figure out what our current Rabbi’s plans are (which leaves us with just a few months to find a Rabbi to officiate). We have no idea who would be filling her position if she leaves, and the head Rabbi at our temple is retiring and a search is going on to fill his position so it seems that come spring we will have 2 new Rabbi’s at our temple.
I am beginning to really freak out. What would you do?
Post # 3
@ArtDecoLisa: I would think that your Rabbi would know if she is renewing by mid winter at best, and if you do not want to fly her in, and pay for her lodging, you still should have plenty of time interviewing and finding a Rabbi with plenty of time. You do not have the constraints of a mixed marriage (interfaith) as your conversion classes will be completed by then. I found it very hard to find a Rabbi who would perform at an interfaith , although I did find one within a month of searching, and secured him 8 months prior to our wedding date. Good Luck
Post # 4
Honestly, I would plan to use a Rabbi that knows you well, as a more established relationship would make for a more meaningful ceremony. We used the rabbi at the synagogue my family is a member of; even though I left for college shortly after the rabbi had started, he knew my family well and I would see him often at the holidays. He got to know my then FH much better during our pre-wedding sessions, but our ceremony was very personal and meaningful (and we got lots of comments from our guests about how wonderful the ceremony was).
If your rabbi does not end up renewing her contract, you may be able to get a good deal on the flight if you can book early and perhaps you have friends or family to host her stay to help with costs? (Not sure if your rabbi keeps kosher)
Post # 5
@ArtDecoLisa: I also converted after working one on one with a rabbi I selected at a shul near our home. He was absolutely wonderful! Fiance and I did not get engaged until after my conversion was official, as I did not want speculation I had converted only for Fiance. I converted for me. That was a point I wanted to make clear to the rabbi and I hope that he will make clear at the wedding as well. After getting engaged I made she he was free for our wedding!
If it were me, I would bite the bullet and fly the rabbi you worked with back for the ceremony if needed. We spent so much time together on my conversion AND I felt comfortable with him. And though it has gotten much better, at times I still feel somewhat insecure (is everyone in the shul staring at me, is it obvious I wasn’t born Jewish, Is my pronounciation wrong, etc.) that it’s very important I feel comfortable with the person performing the ceremony!
Mazel tov on your conversion!!
Post # 6
Thank you everyone for your responses. My future in laws think we should just fly her in as well and pay for her lodging. Hopefully she will just stay with the temple, it makes me so sad to even think that she won’t be around anymore. She is so awesome!
Post # 7
It sounds like having her would be really meaningful to you, and worth diverting a chunk of your budget in order to make it happen. Years from now, you and your Fiance won’t remember a thing about the tablecloths or the centerpieces, but I’m sure you will have fond memories of how warm and personal your ceremony was because of your wonderful officiant!