Interfaith Wedding with Modern Jewish Elements

candlesThis Saturday past was a glorious time for Michael and Emily from San Francisco as they gathered together their closest family and friends for a wedding celebration at the The Gramercy Park Hotel.

The evening was a lovely 64 degrees allowing the roof to be opened to the autumn breezes that filled the room.

I officiated their simple, interfaith, personalized ceremony along with the lovely voice of Cantor Irene Fallenborgen. Some customs from the Jewish tradition were included; sharing wine , breaking a glass and a modern version of the seven blessings.  Guests commented on the beauty of the ceremony and were excited that Michael had finally taken the marriage plunge.

Modern Seven Blessings:

  1. May your marriage enrich your lives and the lives of everyone around you.
  2. May you work together to build a relationship of substance and quality.
  3. May the honesty of your communication build a foundation of understanding, connection, and trust.
  4. May you respect each other’s individual personality and philosophy, and give each other room to grow and fulfill each other’s dreams.
  5. May your sense of humor and playful spirit continue to enliven your relationship.
  6. May you understand that neither of you is perfect: you are both subject to human frailties: and may your love strengthen when you fall short of each other’s expectations.
  7. May you be “best friends”, better together than either of you are apart.

 Here are some of the ways we incorporated the ancient  and made it modern. 

Silent Blessings

At this time I invite everyone to take a moment and to send your own silent blessings to the bride and groom, this sweet new family who stand before you. Each praying in the way that is right for you.

And together we say Amen.

Sharing wine

There is a saying – “without wine there is no blessing” .

Wine is an essential part of celebrating life’s most joyous moments and therefore is a part of this joyous moment.

And so  you have asked to share in the ritual of wine as a symbol of this occasion – to remind you as long as you live, may you

never be too busy to celebrate whatever great occasions come to your lives.

Modern version of the prayer over the wine

We praise you God, Creator of all we see, Creator of the fruit of the vine. This wine is a symbol of the co-creation between humans and the Divine.  God makes the grapes grow, provides the sun shine, rain and fertile soil.  Humans harvest the grapes and create the wine. Bless you Beloved and bless all we see.  Bless this bride and groom as they work together to co-create their marriage.  And together we say Amen.

As you share the wine from a single cup, so may you share contentment, peace and fulfillment from the cup of life.

May you find life’s joys heightened, any bitterness sweetened and each of life’s moments enhanced by true companionship and love.  (Groom offers the bride a drink and then drinks himself).