Shabbat Surfing: Ahava

Mazel tov to Vice President Joe Biden, who danced the Horah at his daughter’s interfaith wedding to Jewish surgeon Howard Krein.

Actress Drew Barrymore also married one of our own in a Jewish wedding ceremony, officiated by her new husband’s rabbi and featuring a custom-made chuppah.

If there wasn’t enough love to go around, the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Laws and Standards—the Conservative movement’s authority on halachic policy—has unanimously approved ritual guidelines for same-sex weddings.  

This announcement came just in time to celebrate at Pride this weekend. Israelis flocked by the thousands to Tel Aviv’s 14th Gay Pride Parade today.  We’ll be celebrating locally this weekend in the Capital Pride parade and street festival.  

“AHAVA – LOVE – Israel Museum” by Brian Negin, on Flickr

Have a LOVEly weekend. Shabbat Shalom!

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Ten Steps to a Successful Interfaith Wedding from a Brand-New Bride:

  1. Get excited—it’s the best way to have fun with what may otherwise be a super stressful process:)
  2. Have a good foundation—talk about everything you can, learn about everything you can, explore ALL the issues; attending things like the Interfaith Couples Workshop, Intro to Judaism and Tying the Knot really helped
  3. Pin down your officiant(s) as early as possible, and keep ‘em in the loop (if you don’t have any yet, contact Jean Graubart at the 16th Street J and she’ll point ya in the right direction)
  4. Don’t be afraid to make it your own—interfaithfamily.com has some great sample ceremonies
  5. The most important thing to remember isn’t compromise, its respect—and as long as you’ve got that, you’ll make the right decisions
  6. Make programs so your (and his) family can follow along—it helps to have phonetics of the “heblish” translations so people don’t congratulate you on the beautiful “choopa”
  7. There are a million different meaningful explanations for everything (especially Jewish traditions!) mix and match, cherry-pick what fits you best or combine a few different interpretations—with so many options, no one’s ever wrong!
  8. There are also a million different ways to do a Ketubah (if you decide you want one) and some great interfaith texts out there (check out modernketubah.com for examples)—just don’t wait ‘till the day-of to print it!
  9. Plan away, but remember, “it’s the little imperfections that make the day so special” (this is from the Brand-New Groom)
  10. Finally, don’t forget to have fun!! Enjoy all the little things, big things and the in-betweens; there are sure to be ups and downs, but in the end, you’ll have created memories—and a partnership—to last a lifetime.

On Your Wedding To-Do List

Wedding Hall? CheckMarriage Workshop: Actual Newlyweds Pictured
Caterer? Check
Flowers? Check
Pre-Marriage Workshop? Check!

Particularly in these trying economic times, many couples are focusing less on the costly parts of the wedding and more on the spiritual journey of getting married.

With this in mind, the J is proud to offer an inexpensive, high quality pre-marriage couples workshop.

Clinical psychologist Deborah Perlman will be facilitating a lively and thoughtful discussion about issues ranging from communication to finances to building a Jewish home.

All four sessions cost only $75/couple thanks to a generous grant from the the United Jewish Endowment Fund.

This is a wonderful opportunity to explore issues together while meeting other couples.

Information is below:

Tying the Knot: A Pre-Marriage Workshop for Couples

4 Tuesdays
January 12 – February 2
8:00 – 9:30 pm: $75/couple
Register online

Love in the Comment Box

From the comment box in the fitness center:

“The best thing about the DCJCC for us is that we met here on February 22, 2005 and are getting married this weekend, August 15, 2009. Thanks JCC gym! — Katie and Michael ”

– Katie was volunteering in the membership office and Michael came in for a tour.

We wish Katie and Michael a glorious wedding weekend, many years of happiness and remind them that in-addition to a gym, we also have a Preschool. Not to pressure you or anything.

Preparation!!

Last night Jon Stewart noted, “It’s Sukkot, which is the Hebrew word meaning, “How many holidays can Jews fit into one month?”

Truly, the Jewish holiday season is non-stop action – from the reflective mood of Rosh Hashanah to the boisterous dancing at Simchat Torah, the holiday where we celebrate the yearly completion of the reading of the Five Books of Moses.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

How do we get the most out of this holiday season? I believe the preparation is the answer. And not only material preparation (shopping, cooking, etc.) But spiritual preparation.

Taking time to examine our behavior and our relationships brings deeper meaning to the High Holidays. And Sukkot, when we build and dwell in portable homes (Sukkot)  offers us an opportunity to reflect on the many blessings of having a permanent home – particularly in this year of foreclosures economic troubles.
Taking time to prepare enables maximum experience.

This fall, the Washington DCJCC is offering a different kind of preparation opportunity,   “Tying the Knot:  Pre-Marriage Workshop for Couples.” Wedding preparations can be stressful and overwhelming. And yet how much time do we devote to our spiritual preparations for the big day? “Tying the Knot” offers engaged couples a safe space to explore issues central to forming a healthy and happy marriage in a Jewish context.

Sarah Gershman is the Jewish Education Associate for the Leo and Anna Smilow Center for Jewish Living and Learning at the Washington DCJCC. Her children’s book The Bedtime Shma won the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

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