11/02/2006

Shut Ha-ADDeRabbi, Part II

I just got the following question from the same guy as I got this one:

Rabbi F.,

I was wondering if you'd be able to answer a question for me. My fiancee and I are recently engaged and are starting to plan our wedding for next year. One detail that we are attempting to work out is the fact that I am Jewish and she is Catholic. We would like to encorporate (sic) traditions from both relgions (sic) into our wedding ceremony and I was wondering if you have any advice on how this is done. To make things even more difficult, the wedding is in ******, a community I am not really familiar with.

Ideally we'd love to have a priest and a rabbi there, but we don't know what the logistics on something like this are. Can you fill me in on any advice you may have on this subject?

Thanks very much.

So, like, what are my options? Ignore him? That would kill one of probably a very limited number of relationships with anyone connected to Torah. On the other hand, there’s obviously not much help I can offer him. Do I give him a few ‘customs’ like having the bride walk around seven times (or even let them walk around each other 7 times; nisht geferlach at this point. Maybe he’d break a glass? That might be appropriate. Ash on the forehead? Also might be appropriate, and the in-laws can even relate J. Empty pockets to recall the day of death? Having a ‘shomer’? Fasting? Doing a Vidui right before? Using the opportunity to pray for sick individuals? These are all things that are positive in any context, so if it adds some Jewishness to his life, mah tov. Maybe they’ll eventually get hooked up with EJF.

Alternatively, I can give him the straight dope. If he is lost to Judaism forever, no big deal, right? It ends with him anyway. Tell him that anything ‘Jewish’ about the wedding is a farce, and that Judaism doesn’t recognize intermarriages. Let him experience a bit of rage, or guilt, or both.

In any event, here’s how I responded. Comments welcome, since I'm very uneasy about this whole situation:

Hi A.,

First of all, congratulations on your engagement. I hope that the two of you find much happiness. I'm glad to see that you were able to successfully heal your relationship and move forward.

I have never officiated at a multidenominational ceremony, and don't really have an idea of what one would look like. It probably depends a lot on the two of you - how you would like your wedding to look. I would meet with you to discuss it, but, if you didn't already know, my wife and I moved to Israel over the summer. I'd suggest reading up on Jewish wedding customs on-line, and seeing what resonates with you. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me.

Regarding a Rabbi to officiate, I have some contacts in the @@@@@@ Rabbinate. You would be looking for a Rabbi who affiliates with the Reform movement, who would officiate at a wedding between a non-coreligionist couple. I will make the initial contact and then put you in touch.

Take care,

E.

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