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Jewish Interfaith Weddings-Beyond the Numbers

A recent article in The Jerusalem Post reports that the Jewish population in America is actually increasing and a big contributor is interfaith Jewish marriages.

This may seem, at first glance, surprising. But in a period of five years, the US population of Jewish adults and children rose from 7 to 7.5 million—this is from 2013 to 2018—and reports are that rates of participation in Jewish life remain remarkably stable.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the latest research stats of 1200 non-orthodox couples, admittedly a smallish sample, shows that interfaith couples feel welcome by both sides of their families.

What the figures do show is that these couples are active in Jewish life and traditions, but may not be quite as involved as when both partners are Jewish.  Another surprise—research finds, overwhelmingly, that the non-Jewish partner does not typically practice another religion actively.

This may be something to discuss among interfaith couples where parents and other relatives—among your extended Jewish families– may not be entirely on board with your plans for an interfaith marriage before your wedding—that research shows high participation and involvement rates in Jewish life after the wedding!

Note from the Rabbi:
What is it like in your interfaith family? I’d welcome feedback and I (and Alex!) are always happy to help guide and discuss.

More–read the article at The Jerusalem Post.

 

Weddings and Families

Families and Weddings

You may feel you have the date, you’ve booked the Rabbi, and you’re ready… However, as almost any wedding planner will tell you, that may be when things start to go awry.

Your wedding ceremony will stay in your memory as one of the most important days of your life (and probably the most astonishing so far!). It’s essential that the ceremony lives up to your dreams and hopes.

IS THERE FAMILY CONFLICT OVER YOUR WEDDING?

“Sometimes family attitudes and judgments or their expectations of your wedding may get in the way,” says Rabbi David Gellman. “We’re very pleased to be of service, so this doesn’t happen. We will work with you to incorporate the rituals and customs you would like to include from any faith or background, and that may be important to both sides of the family. Every wedding ceremony is individually created for the couple with observances dear to you both.”

PLANNING AN INTERFAITH WEDDING

Initially, the two partners to be married may feel somewhat overwhelmed with how to plan the perfect ceremony. How do you include Jewish and non-Jewish traditions and customs, or highlight elements that may be significant to you both or to your respective families?

“Through our personal experience, Alexandra and I know both the challenges and joys of a ceremony that’s inclusive, sensitive, and meaningful to everyone. This is why we use a tailored approach to bring couples, families, loved ones, and friends together to share in an ecumenical ceremony that respects your past, enshrines your moment of the day, and collectively puts faith in your future as a loving couple.”

AVOIDING FAMILY STRESS AT THE WEDDING

Understanding everyone’s wishes in advance helps to avoid tensions with extended families that could intrude on the happiness and specialness of your day. Your ceremony will be written for you individually. It will be customized for you with the rituals and traditions that you choose to honor and reflect both religions. Whether you select only a few traditions or all—these are woven into the ceremony for you.

Often, some simple guidance is all that is needed to craft a service that will be a dream ceremony for you, your families, and for everyone in attendance. Creating a ceremony that exemplifies the cooperation and love that will be central to the life you envisage together is always the goal, regardless of the starting point. “We find our tailored approach guides us to the perfect solution for our wedding couples and your families.”

MINIMIZING FAMILY ANXIETY AT THE WEDDING

So don’t feel overwhelmed if various family members sometimes look like they’re readying for an argument instead of a marriage.  Minimizing any anxieties for the couple and all interested members of the wedding party—and ensuring your wonderful precious memories of the ceremony of your dreams—sometimes takes just a little extra timely understanding, planning, and creativity.

Note: We are happy to meet with you and your family members beforehand for marriage and couple guidance counselling to help create a happy and healthy supportive framework for your life together based on love, respect, and trust.