Getting married soon(ish)? Join Rabbi Felicia Sol for a pre-marriage series to help you prepare for your wedding and beyond. All couples are welcome.
Before the Wedding
Couples often decide to mark the celebration of their upcoming marriage with an aliyah to the Torah on a preceding Shabbat and to receive a special blessing from a rabbi. Called an aufruf (from the Yiddish word meaning to go up–the couple goes up to the bimah and recites blessings before and after a portion of the Torah reading), this ritual allows the couple to share the joy of their future marriage with the larger community. It is customary, though not required, for the couple or their families to sponsor the community kiddush held after services by contributing to or covering the cost of food. We encourage both women and men to visit the mikvah, or ritual bath, close to the date of the wedding; immersing in the mikvah is a ritual of purification and rebirth in advance of one the most sacred days of their lives. BJ members who would like to have an aufruf on a Shabbat morning before their wedding should contact the lifecycle coordinator.
Acts of Hesed
BJ recognizes the great importance of marriage in building and supporting communities through acts of hesed, or lovingkindness. Historically, wedding parties were arranged not just to celebrate the couple, but to give back to and provide for the community. All were welcome to attend–and the poor were served first. Many couples are fortunate to have received generous gifts in honor of their marriage, and we encourage giving a portion of those gifts to tzedakah (charity) and most especially to the cause of feeding the neediest among us. Learn more about providing for the needy at the time of your simha.
Officiation by BJ Rabbis
BJ’s rabbis and hazzan are honored to officiate at the weddings of both heterosexual and same-sex BJ member couples. We look forward to making the day special and holy for all involved. There are a few essential requirements for being married by a BJ rabbi:
- The couple must have joined the BJ community and be members in good standing.
- At least one partner is Jewish, and there is a commitment to having a Jewish home.
- A get (a ritual divorce) is required if there has been a previous Jewish marriage for either partner.
- Civil marriage is required.
- Either a traditional ketubah text that includes the Lieberman clause (often referred to as a “Conservative” ketubah) or the Egalitarian text written by Rabbi Gordon Tucker must be obtained for use in the ceremony.
It is very important that you contact Billie Di Stefano early on in your planning schedule and before making any final decisions about a date and a venue, to ensure that one of our rabbis is available.
Several months in advance of the ceremony, couples will have a series of meetings with the rabbi who will officiate at the ceremony. During these sessions, the rabbi will offer spiritual counseling in preparation for this very sacred occasion and guidance about building a strong marriage and a Jewish home. The meetings also allow the officiating rabbi and the couple to get to know one another before they stand together under the huppah as well as being opportunities to discuss some decisions about the wedding ceremony itself.