Choosing an Officiant

You’ve found your beshert (soul mate) and have decided to get married. Mazal Tov! (congratulations) There are few life cycle events more fun, bursting with hope, or filled with love and warmth. There are also few rituals in the Jewish tradition where the presence of the divine is felt so intimately. Why is this so? Because it is taught that there are three partners in every marriage, the two people marrying and God.

Okay, you are ready to enter into holy matrimony with your beshert, or so you think. You know you are in love. Obviously this is a good start. But are you really ready to meet the challenges that you will encounter down the road? Sadly, love is not necessarily the most reliable indicator of the soundness of the foundation of the life you will be making together. A good way to stress test your foundation is to spend time with a qualified pre- marriage counselor. Ideally this person is the same one who will actually officiate at your ceremony. The point of spending quality time with your officiant is to explore the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship so you can be better prepared to face the challenges that you will undoubtedly encounter. A good pre-marriage counselor will help you do this important work.

Not only will a good pre-marriage counselor/officiant help you prepare for what is to come later he or she will work with you to create a meaningful wedding ceremony. The Jewish wedding, like all Jewish rituals, is not carved in stone. To be sure there are numerous elements of the wedding that are standard such as the huppah (wedding canopy), ketubah (traditional marriage contract) and breaking of the glass. However, there are a variety of other elements that you may not be familiar with that might like to incorporate, such as the bdeken (unveiling of the bride) or circling of the groom. Also, there are a variety of ways to actually execute these traditional elements. You will want to make sure that your officiant spends time explaining the various components of a

Understanding both the historical roots of the elements of the wedding and the different meanings they convey will add richness and appreciation to your wedding experience. Finally, a Jewish wedding is more than just an event. It is a learning and growing process. Like most aspects of Judaism it comes with both a rich history and the opportunity to be personalized so that it truly reflects you and your partner.