All the things that people enjoy about a traditional Jewish wedding – including chuppah, Ketubah, Hebrew songs, traditional Hebrew phrases, breaking of glass and drinking of wine – are all also key parts of a Liberal Jewish wedding.
The main distinction is that a Liberal wedding is fully egalitarian, meaning that both participants – whether of the same or opposite genders – say and commit themselves to the same ritual Jewish phrases and they exchange rings.
In an Orthodox wedding, typically only the groom gives the bride a ring and she does not speak. An Orthodox synagogue would also not marry a couple of the same gender.
You can perform a Liberal Jewish wedding ceremony in any venue which you agree with your rabbi. It does not need to be a synagogue.
Liberal Judaism holds its own licence and we can marry couplesanywhere we deem suitable. Couples need to be members of a synagogue, and obviously, the couple need to register with their local registry office/s and obtain a licence which gives the marriage secretary of the synagogue under whose auspices the couple are marrying the authority.
Alternatively you can have the civil ceremony in a place such a registry office, before having the religious ceremony with a Liberal Jewish rabbi in the venue of your choice.
Yes. Liberal rabbis and Liberal Judaism communities delight in celebrating the love of two persons, regardless of gender. Liberal Judaism was at the forefront of the fight that culminated in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 – and proudly conducts ceremonies for all couples.
As with all wedding planning, please speak to your individual community rabbi for more information.
As for any rituals that were, traditionally, reserved for bride or groom – both same and opposite gender couples can discuss, with their rabbi, ways to incorporate these.
For example, instead of the traditional part of a wedding ceremony where the bride walks around the groom seven times – many couples walk around each other three times each, then walk once in a circle together.
Yes. Liberal Judaism requires both partners to be members of the Liberal synagogue under the auspices of which the ceremony will be carried out.
If you wish to join one of our communities, to begin this process, then please click here.
Joining a community brings with it many benefits beyond your special day, including festival and Shabbat services, learning for adults and children, fun events, social action, being part of the wider Liberal Jewish community and, above all, making lifelong friends.
Traditionally Jewish weddings and blessings – whether Liberal or otherwise – do not happen on Shabbat, although Liberal Jewish rabbis have conducted ceremonies on Saturday evening after Shabbat has finished.
The law stipulates that, when a couple wishes to be married under Jewish auspices, both partners must profess the Jewish faith.
However, while the law does not authorise our rabbis to solemnise mixed faith marriages, many will perform blessings – provided that the non-Jewish partner is committed to building a Jewish home and to raising any shared children as Jews.
Mixed faith blessings are a way to acknowledge the Jewish background of one member of a couple and the couple’s intention to build a Jewish household together.
They do not take place under a chuppah and there is no Ketubah. They are different in structure and content to the Jewish marriage ceremony, while recognising the importance of Judaism to the couple and celebrating their love and commitment.
To find out more about mixed faith blessings, please discuss with your rabbi.