Yom Shabbat, 27 Av 5774
Saturday, 23 August 2014
Liberal Rabbi Saves Russian Wedding

An English Liberal Jewish Rabbi rushed to the rescue of a Russian couple hoping to marry in France, after their original Orthodox choice refused to conduct the wedding at the last minute.

Despite identifying as part of Russia’s Jewish community, it was discovered that the groom was not strictly halachically Jewish just two weeks ago.

The Orthodox Rabbi, who was due to carry out the couple’s dream ceremony in St Jean Cap Ferrat on Friday, then pulled out of the wedding – leading them to contact Liberal Judaism’s London head office in a panic.

Luckily Rabbi Anna Gerrard, part of Liberal Judaism’s new Rabbinic Team, was already scheduled to be in France to conduct a mixed faith wedding blessing on the Sunday, near Limoges – so was able to rush to the rescue.

Rabbi Gerrard said: “It was a slightly hectic schedule to do two weddings in two different parts of France in one weekend.

“I was determined to be there for the Russian couple, who had been let down at the last minute because the groom’s maternal line was not halachically up to scratch.

“When I asked the bride of the Limoges wedding if she minded me arriving 24 hours later than planned, she immediately agreed, saying how angry it made her when Orthodoxy treats people in this way. She was happy for me to squeeze the other wedding in, even though it added an additional stress to her own special weekend.

“The weddings were lovely and meaningful – and I’m so pleased that we were able to help both couples start their married lives in the Jewish tradition.”

Rabbi Anna Gerrard is a part of the new Rabbinic Team at the Montagu Centre, Liberal Judaism’s London head office, alongside Rabbi Sandra Kviat, Rabbi Ariel Friedlander and Cantor Gershon Silins.

All have been busy since taking up their posts in July, conducting a number of weddings and funerals, as well as taking services at Liberal communities around the UK.


This story also featured in The Jewish Chronicle. Click here to read it