When you hear the word “wedding” the first image that comes to mind is usually that of a young couple in love setting off to build a life together. In Israel, the couple and their families join under the huppah, with an Orthodox rabbi (often a stranger) officiating. They perform a ceremony of purchase of the bride. The woman does not get to say a word, give her partner a ring, or take an equal part in the ceremony.
In Israel, this is the only legal way for a Jew to marry – through the ultra-Orthodox Rabbinate. What if you do not want to be married by an Orthodox rabbi? What if you or your partner’s Jewish lineage or conversion is in question? Because of the ultra-Orthodox monopoly on marriage and other issues of personal status, there are over 800,000 Israelis who cannot legally marry in the country they call home. There are hundreds of thousands more who simply choose to marry abroad to avoid having their special day tainted by a ceremony that does not represent their Judaism. This is an arcane system that must change, and we are ready to do something about it.
We have always wanted to combine a political statement with a joyful event. This is why IRAC and Temple Emanu-El of New York City are hosting the largest wedding for Israeli couples outside of Israel as a statement that this basic right should be denied to no one.
We have identified three couples that represent the complexity of this issue to come to New York and get married under the huppah in Temple Emanu-El’s beautiful sanctuary as a public statement of defiance to the current status quo. It is rare to be invited to the wedding of people you don’t know. We have looked all over Israel and found three couples we know you will fall in love with that represent the best of Israeli society.
Over the next few weeks we will profile each couple, but wanted to start our Equality in Marriage campaign with an open invitation to attend their wedding.
If you live in or are going to be in the tristate area, please join us on December 3 at 11:00 AM. Click here for full details.
We are honored to be working with the remarkable staff of Temple Emanu-El to create this fabulous event to celebrate the love of these three couples. We hope you will join us, along with many rabbis from different denominations, to fight for marriage equality in Israel and eat delicious cakes.
Help support our fight for marriage equality in Israel, and we hope to see you at the wedding!
Anat and Noa