I was not at my son's official wedding. Ariel and his wife got married in Cyprus. They made this choice not because of the country's wonderful sights and romantic scenery, but because they wanted to be able to marry outside of the framework of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate.
The Chief Rabbinate holds a monopoly on all Jewish marriages in Israel. There is no civil marriage, which leaves an Orthodox marriage as the only option for Jewish couples in Israel. This means that the ceremony is often performed by a rabbi who does not know the couple personally. It means stringent...Read More
We got married on a Wednesday. August 14, 2013: the ninth anniversary of the day on which we stood under a chuppah to sign our ketubah, (Jewish contract of marriage) exchange rings, sanctify our relationship, and hear the Sheva Brachot, the seven Jewish wedding blessings. We'd been together for more than fifteen years. Married – in the eyes of God and our Jewish community, if not in the eyes of the law of the United States of America – for nine years.
And so, on a beautiful summer afternoon in Brooklyn, I walked hand in hand with my partner along a path in Prospect Park. Our guests...Read More
Nathan Rifzis and Joanna Duretz were complete strangers when they traveled to Israel together in May 2012, but by the end of their 10-day trip, they were well on their way to falling in love. These days, the two are planning their upcoming wedding – and fondly remembering the trip that brought them together. Nathan, a native of Milwaukee, and Joanna, originally from Coral Springs, FL, were traveling to the Holy Land with URJ Kesher, the Reform Jewish trip provider for Taglit-Birthright Israel, which provides free group trips to Israel for young Jews ages 18-26. Here, Nathan and Joanna...Read More
Gay and lesbian couples love to get married. Again and again. Rather than marrying other people each time, we tend to marry the same people again and again. As some same-sex couples have moved from one location to another, they have registered as domestic partners in each of the cities that offered this. They have traveled to states that offered civil unions. They have journeyed to Canada to get married. And as various states in the United States have adopted marriage equality, gay and lesbian couples have trekked around the country in order to get married in these states.
Up until...Read More
The vast majority of Jewish people support the freedom to marry, knowing that strengthening gay families helps many and harms no one. The freedom to marry is not about forcing any rabbi or synagogue – or, for that matter, any priest, minister, imam, mosque, or church – to perform a ceremony. It's about the very important values of religious pluralism, freedom, and equal protection under the law that matter so much in America – and that Jews have a strong stake in safeguarding.
My own dedication to winning the freedom to marry has been consistent with my Jewish values. When I first...Read More
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