Jewish Wedding Officiant
Berkeley Parents Network >
Religious & Spiritual >
Jewish Wedding Officiant
I'm the matron of honor for a Jewish friend who is planning
a local interfaith wedding. Can anyone recommend a reformed
rabbi who would be willing to co-officate? My friend doesn't
belong to a temple and doesn't know where to start her
search. Thank you!
Hi Maria, I would be happy to help you and I'll email you
but I thought I should let everyone know. There are lots
of rabbis who will perform a wedding for an interfaith
couple - Reform, Renewal and Humanist rabbis. I refer
couples to rabbis all the time. My website is
www.buildingjewishbridges.org - you can look and see what
Some of the questions to resolve:
What day is the wedding? If the couple is getting married
on the Jewish sabbath (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday)
most rabbis will NOT do the wedding. A few will but it can
take a bit of exploration.
Why does the couple want a rabbi? It is important to be
sure those needs are being met. They may not have
discussed what having a rabbi MEANS to each of them.
What do they plan for their future together? Will they
have a Jewish home and raise Jewish children? This is
often the make it or break it question for a rabbi. A
rabbi typically sees him or herself as part of the Jewish
people, part of a continuum. As one rabbi said to me, ''I
don't want to be the only Jewish thing at a wedding.''
Last but not least, Mazel tov! You should have a wonderful
day! You're a wonderful friend for taking on this big job,
Building Jewish Bridges
(510) 845-6420 x11
Rabbi Chaya Gusfield is a lovely person and heartfelt
rabbi. She can be reached at 510/653-3724 or
She wasn't the rabbi at my wedding but I know her socially
and know she is open to doing interfaith weddings.
You can do a google search for her and find some videos on
youtube and other information about her.
I recommend Rabbi Jerry Levy (reform) in Marin. He is
amazing -- he married my husband and I in Berkeley two years
ago before I converted to Judaism (I also worked with him to
convert). A warm amazing presence, genuine care for the
couple, professionalism and a huge heart. I can't say
enough good things about him. Here's his website -- give
him a call!
I would contact Jewish Gateways in Oakland. http://www.jewishgateways.org/
Rabbi Bridget might know and she is great.
Berkeley Rabbi Miriam Senturia specializes in interfaith weddings, and works
closely with you to create a meaningful ceremony that that reflects you both,
and honors the commitment you are making.
Rabbi Miriam is a pleasure to work with.
My daughter, a Jewish/Episcopal atheist, and her fiance, an
LA Barmitzvah boy, are getting married at our home on
Valentine's Day. The Unitarian minister who married my
husband and I and everyone else in my family who's gotten
hitched in the past 28 years is unavailable that weekend. It
has been implied that the LA family would prefer that a
rabbi officiate. Any suggestions?
soon to be MIL
Jhos Singer did my wedding and that of a number of my
friends. He is very flexible about the ''flavor'' of service
and an incredibly gifted and funny officiant.
I strongly recommend Linda Hirschhorn:
She just performed our wedding ceremony (I'm a cultural Jew,
my husband is an atheist). It was beautiful, personal and
very memorable. She travels too and sings beautifully.
--One half of recently-married interfaith couple
Rabbi/Cantor Sara Shendelman is a wonderful rabbi who also
has a lovely singing voice. She does small (and large)
weddings, including interfaith weddings, and will
certainly travel to your home. She officiated at our
daughter's bat mitzvah, and made it an intimate, joyous
celebration, accessible to all our guests (including lots
of non-Jews). firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-644-2956
Happy with Rabbi Sara!
Contact these folks, its their specialty
Rabbi Gershon Caudill performed my wedding in 2002:
http://home.earthlink.net/~ecorebbe/index.html My wife
and I are both committed, practicing (non-Orthodox) Jews,
but Reb Gershon is very open -- he has a sideline in
I would also recommend Rabbi-Maggid Daniel Lev of
Berkeley. He is an acquaintance of mine. I did a little
web surfing but couldn't find contact info. Email me if
you are interested in connecting with him. I'm pretty
sure I can get his contact info.
Looking for a rabbi? The first place I'd suggest you go
in the east bay is definitely Jewish Milestones
(www.jewishmilestones.org). You might also check out the
BPN archives, which include mention of Jewish Milestones.
Of the other folks mentioned on that BPN page, I
personally know many of them: Rabbi Miriam Senturia,
Maggid Jhos Singer, Rabbi Margie Jacobs...and they're all
great people! I'd also recommend Rabbi Jane Litman, who
did my interfaith (Jewish/athiest) wedding and really
helped us shape a ceremony that meant SO much to both of
But really, I think Milestones would be the place to start
looking. (Once you establish contact with Milestones, it
might make more sense for the folks getting married to
take the leadership in finding someone, since the ceremony
is at the center of their commitment to one antoher.)
Can anyone please recommend an officiant (not necessarily a Rabbi) who is able to
perform a beautiful Jewish wedding ceremony for my daughter and her non-Jewish fiance
this coming August 8 in Walnut Creek. The bride and groom are both deaf but we plan
to use the help of an interperter, and costs are also a consideration.
Thank you so much.
This is to recommend Rabbi Miriam Senturia for your daughters
(510) 524-1818 or RabbiMiriam@JewishInterfaithWeddings.org.
A pleasure to work with, Rabbi Miriam Senturia is thoughtful,
personal. Id encourage your daughter to phone her to discuss her
see if its a match.
The organization called Jewish Milestones
(www.jewishmilestones.org) might be
able to help your daughter and her fiance find an officiant--they
are a Bay
Area non-profit organization that serves as a ''matchmaker'' for
for the right individual to lead their Jewish ritual celebration.
very helpful in connecting my interfaith family with the right
rabbi for our
daughter's naming ceremony.
Hi brides and grooms, often a request for a wedding officiant
recommendation gets you just that: the name of one person. There
are many rabbis, cantors and magids in the bay area who will
perform a wedding for an interfaith couple. I've been giving
referrals for years and my goal is to match the two of you with a
few different names of officiants that match your backgrounds.
Additionally, I believe your wedding day is only the beginning of
your life together. I want to give you resources - if you're
interested - for Jewish options FOLLOWING the wedding day. It's
all free, that's what I'm here for. Feel free to call me.
Building Jewish Bridges: Outreach to Interfaith Couples
510-839-2900 x347 www.jfed.org/bjb
Hi. My partner and I are looking for a liberal rabbi to marry us
this summer, end of August. Someone who would be willing to do
the ceremony on a Saturday, be willing to travel (our wedding is
21/2 hrs from the Bay) and help us create a unique ceremony that
reflects who we are, including some traditional Jewish elements
and some of our own. I was raised Jewish and he is Jewish by
blood though his family did not practice. We are hoping for
someone down to earth and who will be willing to help us express
our love, spirituality and committment. Any suggestions or
resources would be greatly appreciated. Hoping to find a good
fit for us! Thanks so much.
We used Rabbi Meryam Zislovich at our Jewish wedding and found
her to be deeply spiritual and very open to our ideas about the
ceremony. She can be reached at 510-559-9647.
Can you recommend a rabbi to officiate a wedding between my
Jewish brother in law and his non Jewish fiance?
We used Rabbi Charles Familant and were delighted. The ceremony
was Jewish, but, at his urging, also very personal. We each
wrote a letter to the other, and we wrote our own vows. We used
him several years later for a naming ceremony for our first
child. His contact info is 650-326-5330, yeshaia[AT]aol.com. Feel
free to mention my name as a referral. He may or may not
actually remember us....
Rob Eller-Isaacs - the minister of the
First Unitarian Church in
Oakland is fantastic. He was the officiant at our mixed faith
wedding and everyone was pleased with the ceremony.
There are lots of rabbis who will perform a wedding for an
interfaith couple. Rabbi Familant is only one of them and he is
located in the Palo Alto area. I give recommendations to
couples all the time, but I do it after speaking with them
because every couple is unique and their needs & plans differ.
Yesterday I found a rabbi to do a wedding in Lake Tahoe for a
Jewish - Buddhist couple. Friday it was a Catholic - Jewish
couple marrying in SF. Thursday it was a Jewish - agnostic
couple in Oakland. As you can imagine, they all had different
needs and desires.
You're welcome to call me. It's free.
(Also free, you can download a little brochure on Jewish
Weddings from the Project Welcome website by going to
www.projectwelcome.org and clicking on the gift box.)
Dawn C. Kepler
Building Jewish Bridges: Outreach to Interfaith Couples
Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay
300 Grand Ave.
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 839-2900 x347
We are looking for a Rabbi that would be willing to preform an
interfaith marriage. Anyone you can reccommend? Thanks
Rabbi Margie Jacobs will perform interfaih marriages. She is
currently part time rabbi at Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond.The
number at TBH is 232-2560. You can call that number and leave a
message for her to call you back. Good luck.
Yes yes yes...contact Rabbi Jhos Singer of Chochmat Halev in
Berkeley. She's just phenomenal. Very spritiual and will
perform a fully Jewish wedding for you. She will ask the two
of you to come in for premaritial counseling---and really teach
you both to really see the love you have for each other. I
don't have her direct phone number but try contacting the
synagogue 510-704-9687 . Mazel Tov!!!
I know of a woman who is liscensed to preform weddings. She is
trained in Judaica, and has the voice of a songbird. She is not
a Rabbi, but her cerimonies are spiritual, fullfilling and
legally binding. Contact me if you want more details or to get
in touch with her.
I suggest you discuss your wedding date, needs and expectations
with someone who can recommend several rabbis or get you headed
in the right direction.
In San Francisco you can get advise from:
Rosanne Levitt, The Interfaith Connection, 415-292-1252
Union of Am. Hebrew Cong. Director, Rabbi Michael Berk, 415-392-
7080 (or 888-756-8242)
Dawn Kepler, Building Jewish Bridges, 510-839-2900 x347
The rabbi who performed my interfaith marriage was Charles
Familant in Menlo Park. We thought he was wonderful. He is
also a therapist and I thought very sensitive, but also has a
dry sense of humor. I thought he did a terrific job of being
inclusive and making judaism accessible to everyone. He was
very open to structuring the ceremony to our ideas and did a
wonderful job. He also has the couple write letters to each
other that he reads as part of the ceremony. I've also been
to two interfaith weddings performed by Jerry Winston, who I
also liked very much. In addition, I'd like to highly recommend
the rabbis from Temple Sinai. This temple has won awards for
its outreach to and inclusiveness of interfaith couples. I
think that both Rabbis Chester and Berlin would perform a
wonderful service. Rabbi Chester recently officiated at our
baby naming and while performing a beautiful ceremony for us,
really made all of our family members feel included and welcome.
We used Rabbi Familant for our interfaith marriage 6 years ago
and he was fantastic. He spent time with us prior to the
wedding (we met several times to discuss our views on religion,
raising children etc), met with my parents to discuss the
ceremony and also was willing to work with a catholic priest
(we used someone my husband knew, but he also has someone he
works with and can recommend some) Having both a priest and
rabbi ended up making our wedding much more inclusive for both
sides of the family.
Someone previously mentioned Rabbi Chester from Temple Sinai as
a possibility. He will not perform interfaith ceremonies even
if you are willing to raise your kids jewish. I was quite
surprised and disillusioned by this because Temple Sinai does a
lot of outreach to interfaith families. I'm not sure about
Rabbi Berlin though.
this page was last updated: Feb 25, 2011
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2013 Berkeley Parents Network