Finding a Wedding Rabbi
Have you heard yet about Mazel Moments? We’re big fans. The mazelmoments™ website helps you plan any Jewish inspired event including a Jewish wedding, bar & bat mitzvah, bris milah, or kosher corporate event. Their extensive directories include venues, temples, rabbis, kosher caterers & restaurants, florists & chuppahs, judaica & ketubah artists, photographers & videographers, music & entertainment vendors, event planners, mohels and more within the Tri-State Area. Today, the mastermind behind it all, Cigall Goldman, shares her tips on finding a rabbi.
Congratulations! You’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with! The hard part is over. At least it should be!
Whether you’re planning a Jewish, interfaith and/or gay wedding, finding a wedding rabbi is an important decision. Nowadays so much of the wedding planning process focuses on the reception – the music, food, flowers, wedding cake, and so on. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Celebrating has always been important in the Jewish culture. But the wedding ceremony should be the most meaningful part of the day. So take the time to find a rabbi that will perform a ceremony that fits your style as a couple, and will bring to life your relationship and love for each other.
If you belong to a temple or went to a synagogue-affiliated Hebrew school as a child, you may have a rabbi in mind who can perform your ceremony. We still urge you to go through the following steps to ensure he or she is a perfect fit.
Photo by Cantor Kerry Ben-David
Step 1: Picture Your Ideal Wedding Ceremony
Discuss your wedding ceremony with your fiancé. Not the budget. Not the guest list. Focus on the ceremony. Try to visualize yourselves walking down the aisle surrounded by your loved ones and making one of life’s greatest commitments to each other. Is the ceremony lighthearted or serious? Traditional or highly personalized?
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Rabbi:
Denomination – Are you and/or your families Reform, Conservative Traditional, Conservative Egalitarian, Modern Orthodox, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, another denomination, or unaffiliated.
Style – Do you want a humorous rabbi, or do you prefer more serious wedding ceremonies? Do you want a rabbi that will provide explanations for your guests to understand all of the traditions and customs that you will be preforming?
Personalization – Jewish weddings involve many rituals, many of which can be modified or personalized to represent a couple’s beliefs. From signing the ketubah to breaking the glass under the chuppah, it’s important to find a rabbi that will work with you to make the rituals personal, should you be interested in doing so.
Premarital Counseling – Most rabbis will meet with the couple a number of times before the wedding. This helps to establish a relationship and make the ceremony more personal. But some rabbis will also go beyond the ceremony and discuss the marriage. These rabbis provide a form of premarital counseling: a platform in which you can discuss life goals and potential challenges with your fiancé that you may have never discussed before (children, money, moving, illness, etc). Find out the number of times your rabbi plans to meet with you, what you will be discussing, and if he or she provides tools or resources that will help strengthen your marriage.
Step 2: Research Rabbis
Mazelmoments.com makes it easy and fun to find the perfect rabbi, cantor, wedding officiant and other Jewish clergy (including those willing to perform interfaith ceremonies). You can read about their background and training, and read reviews from other brides or families. Finding a rabbi to perform an interfaith or same sex wedding ceremony is just the click of a button. If the rabbi is a congregational rabbi, we urge you to attend Shabbat services at their synagogue to get a sense of how they lead the services. That’s one of the best ways to know if you jive with a rabbi’s style.
For more help planning your Jewish event, visit mazelmoments.com.