Ceremonies With A Jewish And Interfaith Rabbi

By Dennis West


When it comes to getting married, there a number of important steps the bride and groom must take. It is often advised that the first step be to locate an officiant. Whether looking to acquire a local minister, pastor, priest or jewish and interfaith rabbi, these individuals often book up well in advance of events. As such, most couples are advised to request and reserve the services of an officiant or officiates as soon as having a date for the wedding.

While a rarity in the past, a number of Jewish rabbis are now performing interfaith weddings. Most common in the California Bay Area, rabbis are officiating interfaith marriages where others only co-officiate along side priests, ministers and pastors. In fact a recent survey which included 881 rabbis in America on such practices showed that the interfaith weddings are become more common.

More liberal rabbis whom offer these services still come from a place where no aspect of Judaism recognizes co-officiating as being of any tradition in the faith. Although, movements such as the reconstruction and reformation provide anonymity to rabbis whom do provide these services. Whereas, more conservative rabbis are not allowed to officiate or co-officiate any event which includes aspects outside of the Orthodox Jewish faith.

A large number of respondents from each of these two groups suggested they would officiate at mixed-faith weddings on an ongoing basis. Whereas twenty five percent answered yes as to the question of whether or not the officiant would provide these services. While twenty percent said they would only co-officiate along side an officiant from another faith as long as the readings contained no relation to theological references with regards to faiths other than Judaism.

One Northern California Rabbi whom is director of the InterfaithFamily non-profit group based in the Bay Area suggested the findings were anything but surprising. For, these services while now more common were still extremely non-traditional. At the same time, finding an interfaith rabbi to officiate or co-officiate a mixed-faith wedding can still be difficult, especially in the more conservative areas of the United States.

Some rabbis have noted that when officiating these non-traditional weddings, it can often be easier to connect with the couple for counseling when and where necessary. For, there are a number of uncharted areas when it comes to mixed-faith households. In most cases, these areas relate to how to honor each faith, raise children and how to become involved in events being held at a church, synagogue or temple.

In a day and age when individuals can become ordained ministers online, one Jewish officiant suggest that it is a good sign when a couple requests the services of a rabbi. For, it shows that faith is an important aspect of the relationship. While a member of the more conservative movement that does not allow rabbis to co-officiate, the officiant also said it would be something to consider if there changes to this rule in the future.

It should be noted that rabbis whom officiate or co-officiate at these events reside mostly in liberal areas. While this is the case, these individuals still hold on tight to Jewish rituals and beliefs. As such, while a bride or groom may be of the Christian faith, most rabbis will not allow the use of terms such as Lord, Savior or Jesus Christ during the ceremony.




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