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My Big Fat Interfaith Lesbian Wedding

A bride-to-be explains what “traditional” Jewish marriage really is.

Zack Beauchamp
June 25, 2012
A Jewish cake.(By Keshet/Flickr.)
A Jewish cake.(By Keshet/Flickr.)

Sara Rivka-Davidson is just trying to put together a traditional Jewish marriage:

[T]he main event, of course, will be our wedding ceremony. Lucky for us, my Uncle Phil accepted our offer to officiate our wedding, so we are very lucky that we don’t have to find a clergy member to marry us. Reform rabbis have been performing same-sex marriages openly for years and more recently, conservative rabbis and cantors have been allowed to perform them. But it can still be a challenge even if a clergy member performs same-sex ceremonies, he or she may not be okay with performing one for an interfaith couple. Uncle Phil, on the other hand, has performed same-sex weddings, and doesn’t have a problem with Chriss not being Jewish (yet). As long as we agree to live Jewishly, he will perform the ceremony.

I’m entirely serious about the “traditional” part. Though both intermarriage and marriage equality may seem alien to a certain segment of the Jewish population, the quest to integrate new moral insights into longstanding Jewish traditions has historically been central to the faith. Rivka-Davidson’s insistence on the Jewishness of both marriage between non-Jews and marriage between two women, provided the couple chooses to “live Jewishly,” is at least no less identifiably Jewish than the traditionalists who would reject her and her soon-to-be-wife, and arguably more so. A bit ago, Ari Kohen nicely illustrated why this is the case:

Religions aren’t monolithic; if people really are involved in deep spiritual reflection on the matter of homosexuality, then they will surely be able to find an interpretation of their religious texts that allows for the kind of evolution that President Obama described. This doesn’t mean I’m not serious about practicing Judaism; it means I’m serious about finding a way to reconcile my belief in the teachings of Judaism with my belief that people should be treated equally. But, obviously, one must actually have both of these beliefs.

Quite right.

Zack Beauchamp contributes to Andrew Sullivan’s “The Dish” at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. His Twitter feed is @zackbeauchamp.