Jewish Wedding Officiant
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I'm the matron of honor for a Jewish friend who is planning a local interfaith wedding. Can anyone recommend a reformed rabbi who would be willing to co-officate? My friend doesn't belong to a temple and doesn't know where to start her search. Thank you! Maria
Hi Maria, I would be happy to help you and I'll email you but I thought I should let everyone know. There are lots of rabbis who will perform a wedding for an interfaith couple - Reform, Renewal and Humanist rabbis. I refer couples to rabbis all the time. My website is www.buildingjewishbridges.org - you can look and see what you think.
Some of the questions to resolve:
What day is the wedding? If the couple is getting married on the Jewish sabbath (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) most rabbis will NOT do the wedding. A few will but it can take a bit of exploration.
Why does the couple want a rabbi? It is important to be sure those needs are being met. They may not have discussed what having a rabbi MEANS to each of them.
What do they plan for their future together? Will they have a Jewish home and raise Jewish children? This is often the make it or break it question for a rabbi. A rabbi typically sees him or herself as part of the Jewish people, part of a continuum. As one rabbi said to me, ''I don't want to be the only Jewish thing at a wedding.''
Last but not least, Mazel tov! You should have a wonderful day! You're a wonderful friend for taking on this big job,
Building Jewish Bridges (510) 845-6420 x11 Dawn Kepler
Hi, Rabbi Chaya Gusfield is a lovely person and heartfelt rabbi. She can be reached at 510/653-3724 or gusfield [at] comcast.net She wasn't the rabbi at my wedding but I know her socially and know she is open to doing interfaith weddings. You can do a google search for her and find some videos on youtube and other information about her. Susan
I recommend Rabbi Jerry Levy (reform) in Marin. He is amazing -- he married my husband and I in Berkeley two years ago before I converted to Judaism (I also worked with him to convert). A warm amazing presence, genuine care for the couple, professionalism and a huge heart. I can't say enough good things about him. Here's his website -- give him a call! http://www.rabbijerry.com/ Mary
I would contact Jewish Gateways in Oakland. http://www.jewishgateways.org/ Rabbi Bridget might know and she is great. rabbibridget [at] jewishgateways.org Mazel Tov!
Berkeley Rabbi Miriam Senturia specializes in interfaith weddings, and works closely with you to create a meaningful ceremony that that reflects you both, and honors the commitment you are making. Rabbi Miriam is a pleasure to work with. http://www.jewishinterfaithweddings.org/ -- happy
My daughter, a Jewish/Episcopal atheist, and her fiance, an LA Barmitzvah boy, are getting married at our home on Valentine's Day. The Unitarian minister who married my husband and I and everyone else in my family who's gotten hitched in the past 28 years is unavailable that weekend. It has been implied that the LA family would prefer that a rabbi officiate. Any suggestions? soon to be MIL
Jhos Singer did my wedding and that of a number of my friends. He is very flexible about the ''flavor'' of service and an incredibly gifted and funny officiant. http://www.jhossinger.com/ Jaime
I strongly recommend Linda Hirschhorn: http://www.lindahirschhorn.com/lifecycle_events/ She just performed our wedding ceremony (I'm a cultural Jew, my husband is an atheist). It was beautiful, personal and very memorable. She travels too and sings beautifully. --One half of recently-married interfaith couple
Rabbi/Cantor Sara Shendelman is a wonderful rabbi who also has a lovely singing voice. She does small (and large) weddings, including interfaith weddings, and will certainly travel to your home. She officiated at our daughter's bat mitzvah, and made it an intimate, joyous celebration, accessible to all our guests (including lots of non-Jews). moretorah [at] aol.com or 510-644-2956 Happy with Rabbi Sara!
Contact these folks, its their specialty http://www.jewishmilestones.org/
Rabbi Gershon Caudill performed my wedding in 2002: http://www.jewishinterfaithweddings.net/ and http://home.earthlink.net/~ecorebbe/index.html My wife and I are both committed, practicing (non-Orthodox) Jews, but Reb Gershon is very open -- he has a sideline in interfaith weddings.
I would also recommend Rabbi-Maggid Daniel Lev of Berkeley. He is an acquaintance of mine. I did a little web surfing but couldn't find contact info. Email me if you are interested in connecting with him. I'm pretty sure I can get his contact info. John
Looking for a rabbi? The first place I'd suggest you go in the east bay is definitely Jewish Milestones (www.jewishmilestones.org). You might also check out the BPN archives, which include mention of Jewish Milestones.
Of the other folks mentioned on that BPN page, I personally know many of them: Rabbi Miriam Senturia, Maggid Jhos Singer, Rabbi Margie Jacobs...and they're all great people! I'd also recommend Rabbi Jane Litman, who did my interfaith (Jewish/athiest) wedding and really helped us shape a ceremony that meant SO much to both of us.
But really, I think Milestones would be the place to start looking. (Once you establish contact with Milestones, it might make more sense for the folks getting married to take the leadership in finding someone, since the ceremony is at the center of their commitment to one antoher.)
Good luck! Rahel
Can anyone please recommend an officiant (not necessarily a Rabbi) who is able to perform a beautiful Jewish wedding ceremony for my daughter and her non-Jewish fiance this coming August 8 in Walnut Creek. The bride and groom are both deaf but we plan to use the help of an interperter, and costs are also a consideration. Thank you so much. leeor
This is to recommend Rabbi Miriam Senturia for your daughter\xc2\x92s interfaith Jewish wedding. http://www.jewishinterfaithweddings.org/ (510) 524-1818 or RabbiMiriam [at] JewishInterfaithWeddings.org. A pleasure to work with, Rabbi Miriam Senturia is thoughtful, attentive and personal. I\xc2\x92d encourage your daughter to phone her to discuss her interests and see if it\xc2\x92s a \xc2\x91match.\xc2\x92 merry
The organization called Jewish Milestones (www.jewishmilestones.org) might be able to help your daughter and her fiance find an officiant--they are a Bay Area non-profit organization that serves as a ''matchmaker'' for people looking for the right individual to lead their Jewish ritual celebration. They were very helpful in connecting my interfaith family with the right rabbi for our daughter's naming ceremony.
Hi brides and grooms, often a request for a wedding officiant recommendation gets you just that: the name of one person. There are many rabbis, cantors and magids in the bay area who will perform a wedding for an interfaith couple. I've been giving referrals for years and my goal is to match the two of you with a few different names of officiants that match your backgrounds. Additionally, I believe your wedding day is only the beginning of your life together. I want to give you resources - if you're interested - for Jewish options FOLLOWING the wedding day. It's all free, that's what I'm here for. Feel free to call me. Building Jewish Bridges: Outreach to Interfaith Couples 510-839-2900 x347 www.jfed.org/bjb Dawn Kepler
Hi. My partner and I are looking for a liberal rabbi to marry us this summer, end of August. Someone who would be willing to do the ceremony on a Saturday, be willing to travel (our wedding is 21/2 hrs from the Bay) and help us create a unique ceremony that reflects who we are, including some traditional Jewish elements and some of our own. I was raised Jewish and he is Jewish by blood though his family did not practice. We are hoping for someone down to earth and who will be willing to help us express our love, spirituality and committment. Any suggestions or resources would be greatly appreciated. Hoping to find a good fit for us! Thanks so much. Rivka
We used Rabbi Meryam Zislovich at our Jewish wedding and found her to be deeply spiritual and very open to our ideas about the ceremony. She can be reached at 510-559-9647. Happy wedding!
Can you recommend a rabbi to officiate a wedding between my Jewish brother in law and his non Jewish fiance?
We used Rabbi Charles Familant and were delighted. The ceremony was Jewish, but, at his urging, also very personal. We each wrote a letter to the other, and we wrote our own vows. We used him several years later for a naming ceremony for our first child. His contact info is 650-326-5330, yeshaia[AT]aol.com. Feel free to mention my name as a referral. He may or may not actually remember us.... Michael
Rob Eller-Isaacs - the minister of the First Unitarian Church in Oakland is fantastic. He was the officiant at our mixed faith wedding and everyone was pleased with the ceremony. anon
There are lots of rabbis who will perform a wedding for an interfaith couple. Rabbi Familant is only one of them and he is located in the Palo Alto area. I give recommendations to couples all the time, but I do it after speaking with them because every couple is unique and their needs & plans differ. Yesterday I found a rabbi to do a wedding in Lake Tahoe for a Jewish - Buddhist couple. Friday it was a Catholic - Jewish couple marrying in SF. Thursday it was a Jewish - agnostic couple in Oakland. As you can imagine, they all had different needs and desires.
You're welcome to call me. It's free. (Also free, you can download a little brochure on Jewish Weddings from the Project Welcome website by going to www.projectwelcome.org and clicking on the gift box.)
Dawn C. Kepler Building Jewish Bridges: Outreach to Interfaith Couples Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay 300 Grand Ave. Oakland, CA 94610 (510) 839-2900 x347 dawn[AT]jfed.org
We are looking for a Rabbi that would be willing to preform an interfaith marriage. Anyone you can reccommend? Thanks Juliette
Rabbi Margie Jacobs will perform interfaih marriages. She is currently part time rabbi at Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond.The number at TBH is 232-2560. You can call that number and leave a message for her to call you back. Good luck. June
Yes yes yes...contact Rabbi Jhos Singer of Chochmat Halev in Berkeley. She's just phenomenal. Very spritiual and will perform a fully Jewish wedding for you. She will ask the two of you to come in for premaritial counseling---and really teach you both to really see the love you have for each other. I don't have her direct phone number but try contacting the synagogue 510-704-9687 . Mazel Tov!!! Amy Amy
I know of a woman who is liscensed to preform weddings. She is trained in Judaica, and has the voice of a songbird. She is not a Rabbi, but her cerimonies are spiritual, fullfilling and legally binding. Contact me if you want more details or to get in touch with her. arden
I suggest you discuss your wedding date, needs and expectations with someone who can recommend several rabbis or get you headed in the right direction. In San Francisco you can get advise from: Rosanne Levitt, The Interfaith Connection, 415-292-1252 Union of Am. Hebrew Cong. Director, Rabbi Michael Berk, 415-392- 7080 (or 888-756-8242) In Oakland: Dawn Kepler, Building Jewish Bridges, 510-839-2900 x347 Mazel tov! Simcha lover
The rabbi who performed my interfaith marriage was Charles Familant in Menlo Park. We thought he was wonderful. He is also a therapist and I thought very sensitive, but also has a dry sense of humor. I thought he did a terrific job of being inclusive and making judaism accessible to everyone. He was very open to structuring the ceremony to our ideas and did a wonderful job. He also has the couple write letters to each other that he reads as part of the ceremony. I've also been to two interfaith weddings performed by Jerry Winston, who I also liked very much. In addition, I'd like to highly recommend the rabbis from Temple Sinai. This temple has won awards for its outreach to and inclusiveness of interfaith couples. I think that both Rabbis Chester and Berlin would perform a wonderful service. Rabbi Chester recently officiated at our baby naming and while performing a beautiful ceremony for us, really made all of our family members feel included and welcome. Hannah
We used Rabbi Familant for our interfaith marriage 6 years ago and he was fantastic. He spent time with us prior to the wedding (we met several times to discuss our views on religion, raising children etc), met with my parents to discuss the ceremony and also was willing to work with a catholic priest (we used someone my husband knew, but he also has someone he works with and can recommend some) Having both a priest and rabbi ended up making our wedding much more inclusive for both sides of the family. Someone previously mentioned Rabbi Chester from Temple Sinai as a possibility. He will not perform interfaith ceremonies even if you are willing to raise your kids jewish. I was quite surprised and disillusioned by this because Temple Sinai does a lot of outreach to interfaith families. I'm not sure about Rabbi Berlin though. Melissa