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Archive for the ‘Interfaith relationships’ Category

I just looked at the date, and realized we are halfway through March, and I haven’t even finished blogging about February, yet.  March has already been a very fun month for me, as I just got back from spending a few personal days in Atlanta, and had such a great time.

When I came back from the Puerto Rico wedding, I quickly got ready for Leah’s Bat Mitzvah.  I have a friend who tutors children, and they were looking for someone to officiate the ceremony, so we worked as a team together.  It was really enjoyable, and the family was so much fun to work with.  The Bat Mitzvah was held on a Saturday evening, so we held a Havdalah service, which seems to be super popular these days.  It happens to be my favorite service, because I love including the contemporary Havdalah music and including everyone in the song and ceremony.  What great fun!  Leah did a great job, as did her sister, who also chanted from the Torah.  It was a beautiful night!

Just before the Bat Mitzvah, I spent a few personal days in Orlando as well, and saw my newest favorite musician, Matt Shenk.  He’s so awesome, and his music is at the top of my “most played” list in Itunes.  He is a master guitar player, has an awesome voice, and his words are so relatable!  Check him out at www.mattshenk.com.

Last week, I had the pleasure of officiating the wedding of Micha and Sam.  I don’t have pics yet, so I am saving the blog story, but they were so adorable, I just had to mention them here.  One of the youngest couples I have married, they are also one of the most mature.  I can’t wait for them to get back from their honeymoon, so I can hear how their first week of marriage went!

This weekend, I am performing the wedding for Annie & Greg. Annie is working incredibly hard at pulling off her wedding on a tight budget, and I think she has done an amazing job.  I can’t wait to see the result of her efforts.

I am also performing a Baby Naming for Mason and Emily, Sage and Jonah.  This is the couple I wrote about last week, titled, A Baby Naming, For all the right reasons…I can’t wait for this beautiful event, and to meet these two lucky little boys.

Trevor is home, and in between, I’m going to try to spend as much time as possible with him.  It’s a busy month, and I am so blessed to be so busy!  And I count those blessings, every day…

B’Shalom,

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Another Destination Wedding has come and gone, and this one went WAY too fast!

I know I say this all of the time, but I am just so fortunate in that every one of my wedding couples is amazing – but truly, Eden and Eduardo were such an amazing couple in so many ways.  It was such a great experience getting to know them, and to be such a special part of their most special day.

Eden & Ed live in Washington, DC, and they were referred to me by Rabbi Lev at http://www.interfaithfamily.com.  As soon as Eden contacted me, we both knew right away we were going to be the most perfect match, and we definitely had that assumption right on all counts!  Eden has one of those personalities that just comes right through the phone and you imagine that girl in junior high school who was just bursting with enthusiasm sitting next to you with a GREAT BIG SMILE on her face, and energy that would last for days.

Well – that’s EXACTLY what you got with Eden!  As I was writing notes about the feelings I had about her and Eduardo as we had our conversations on the phone, I kept thinking “earthy, warm, syrup-y, and sweet”.  Again – I totally had it right!

Getting to the wedding venue wasn’t quite as easy as forming the initial connection, but it was a fun and coversation-sparking adventure nonetheless.  They were married at The Villa Montana, in a small town, in the north-western part of the island, called Isabela.  It was about a 2 hour car ride from the San Juan airport.  Well, I was supposed to depart Fort Lauderdale at 6am (ick), but I just happened to check on my flight the night before, and found out that flight no longer existed.  I was sooooo upset, because they were having the rehearsal dinner that evening and wanted me there.  The flight I was booked on now left at 11am, arriving in SJU at 3.  That should have put me there for the rehearsal around 5:30.  Right.

As I made my way off the plane, I went to the pickup area, expecting to be met by a driver, but nobody was waiting for me.  (what a lonely feeling!!)  I called the hotel, and she began checking, and came back and told me the driver was there – but his van had just been TOWED AWAY, and he was trying to get it back.  After about an hour or more, he finally arrived to pick me up – and we were on our way – in Friday night rush hour traffic.  UGH.

At 6:30, I finally arrived at the beautiful little Villa Montana in Isabela.  Paradise.

This place had the small, intimate feel of a guest house, but was loaded with amenities and beauty.  I was immediately greeted by many of her family members as I was rushed to the rehearsal dinner on the beach, and there was Eden, and I just fell in love with her – as I knew I would.

BBQ at Villa Montana Friday night

That night, I got to know many of her guests, and met her family, as well as Eduardo’s.  Ed’s family is from Puerto Rico, and were the most wonderful, gracious, and appreciative family I have met in a long time.  I just knew the wedding would be amazing.

The next morning, I was able to spend quite a bit of time with Eden and Ed’s family and friends over breakfast on the beach.  We spoke for hours about Eden and Eduardo, their personalities, experiences, and their lives.  They told me incredible stories that really helped paint a perfect picture of my newest favorite couple, and I was able to create a perfectly blended, earthy, universalist-style ceremony that was a perfect match for their personalities.  We even re-wrote the words to The 7 Blessings, taking the religious language down a notch, and focusing on the meaning and appreciation of life.  It was quite beautiful.

Eden and Ed, Sister Sacha and Dad

Watching Eden and Ed before me, as I performed their marriage, was the perfect culimination of the experience.  Standing before me was not only a couple in love, but 2 best friends, laughing, touching, giggling, beaming, and kvelling together.  Knowing their closest friends and family were behind them, being witnesses to this magical moment, you could see the joy in their faces, and their hearts, as they spoke their vows to each other.

Certainly, the dinner party on the beach was also quite fun, and I had the most wonderful time with their friends and family.  To everyone I met at the wedding – thank you for making me feel SO comfortable, and welcomed, and thank you for helping me create another beautiful wedding.  Bob & Carol – thanks for the ride the next day to the airport, you are a wonderful couple!  Paula & Ira – thank you SO much for your hospitality – and Eden & Ed – Mazel Tov and Buena Suerte.  You are a beautiful couple that I will remember forever.  See you in DC in May!

Eden and Ed, married at the beach!

B’Shalom,

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I am just catching up on life, since last weekend’s wedding, and it’s time to head out again tomorrow.

This weekend I am performing a wedding for Eden & Eduardo, an Interfaith couple in Puerto Rico.  I actually know very few details about the location I’m going to – so it’s kind of a mystery adventure to me right now.  I’m really excited, because Eden is an earthy-sugary sweet girl who just adores Ed, and he adores her.  As far as I know, where I’m going is a 2 hour ride from the airport, in a town called Isabella.  I’m really excited to see the area, and to get to know Eden and Ed’s families.

Stay tuned for updates – when I know where I am going!  🙂

Have a great weekend!

Deb

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Heck no.  Why should I be nervous?

Because tomorrow I am officiating the biggest wedding in my career?  For a family known throughout the world for RATING people?  Well, yeah, ok…I’m nervous.  I didn’t say I wasn’t confident, but when you know that people who write about what people do for a living are judging you, then I’d think you might be a bit nervous, too.

Regardless, this wedding is all about the couple, and the couple is definitely something to write home about.  Good looking, brilliant, ambitious, charismatic, benevolent, compassionate, and really-truly, down to earth and very very real.    I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity, and hope that their wedding ceremony is everything they could have ever hoped for.

In the meantime, I’m certainly excited to have my name appear with theirs, in the New York Times.  It was even more special to see it come out on Valentine’s Day. Stay tuned for details…

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I’m so excited.  This is a divine weekend, for sure, and I have been so looking forward to its arrival.  There is such an amazing story about how I got here, which I will tell later, but, for now, the beauty of the fact that I am here is enough.

So, tonight begins Max’s Bar Mitzvah experience.  I’m in Montvale, New Jersey, and we are holding the ceremony tomorrow evening at the Unitarian Church.  Who’d-a-thought?  Audrey, Max’s Mom and I have only seen each other a few times through a unique video-chat setup in their home, so Audrey wasn’t sure we would find each other as I arrived in baggage claim, in Newark, but as soon as I stepped one foot into baggage, we knew immediately who each other was.

Have you ever had one of those times, where you met someone for the first time, but felt sure you had known them all your life?  Well, this is Audrey.  But, it shouldn’t surprise me, because we must not forget that I am connected to Audrey, because of Sharon, my soul-sista from Yelena’s wedding in the DR.  And, there’s a whole story about how I got connected to Yelena, (through Rabbi Andrea in New York) so this whole thing is one big insane Law-of-Attraction story that nobody will really ever believe.

But what’s important, is that I’m here.  I’m here to keep a boy connected to Judaism, whose family has left 4 synagogues, because they never felt welcome, in fact, quite the opposite.  I’m here to let a boy know that his Jewish heritage will never let him down, as long as he stays connected to it, and that the effort he makes is worth way more than the quality he performs with.  I’m here to bring a Jewish and Non-Jewish family together, to help them see the richness of our faith, and the blessings we receive when we embrace it.  I’m here, because G-d brought me here, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Max, I can’t wait to share this moment with you tomorrow.  Audrey, thank you for dinner tonight, and for making me part of your family.  Sharon – I adore you.  You are more my soul-sista tonight than ever.  Rob – you’re an amazing father and husband, and I’m honored to be part of this simcha.  Stay tuned…Max’s Bar Mitzvah, live, Friday night!

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Today I performed a wedding for Scott & Mara, one of the most lovely, down to earth, authentic couples I have met in a long time.

Just pronounced Husband and Wife!

Just pronounced Husband and Wife!

From the moment I met them, I was touched by their simple honesty and affection for each other.  In a very short time, I felt like I really came to understand the essence of who this couple was, what they stood for, and what they wanted to be to each other, in their lifelong partnership.  Mara had a 5 year old son, from a previous relationship, and they gave birth to Sophie about 9 months ago, so it was very important for them not only to create the perfect wedding ceremony, but to honor their children with a unity ceremony to join the family together.

They were married at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.  The location provided a beautiful backdrop for a simple ceremony.  Scott and Mara are a no frills couple, and their wedding matched their personalities so perfectly.  The important thing to each of them was to honor their love and future commitment with a simple, authentic ceremony that was all about them.  No pomp and circumstance here, and it was much appreciated, by guests, family, and an officiant who is used to lots of p&c!  🙂  This time, it was the two of them, their son Zack, their daughter Sophie, and 25 friends and family members who meant the world to them.  Their chuppa was a family tallit (prayer shawl) that were attached to bamboo sticks, and 2 of their younger guests held it over their heads.

Scott and Mara's homemade Chuppa

We created the sand ceremony to include Zack and Sophie, read the 7 blessings, and I sang the Birkat Cohanim, the Priestly Blessing, in my favorite Julie Silver style melody.  My comments, as usual, were strictly about Scott and Mara, who they are to each other, what holds them together, and what they wanted to be for each other in the future.  It was a beautiful service.  Mara was a beautiful bride, and the couple looked amazing together.

What I loved about it was how comfortable it all was.   It was easy.  There was nothing superficial, nothing contrived.  Just a story about Scott, Mara, Zack, and Sophie, and the lives they will all share together.  I was honored to be part of their day, and wish them many years of joy and happiness together.

Breaking the Glass...Mazel Tov!

Breaking the Glass...Mazel Tov!

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I’m up bright and early to finish off this Thanksgiving weekend with quite a bit of activity.

I’m getting ready to leave for Orlando, where I will be co-officiating the wedding of Megan and Michael tonight at the Winter Park Civic Center.  The wedding is a Catholic-Jewish wedding, and I am co-officiating with Father Tim.  The ceremony is a great blend of traditions, and I look forward to writing more about it when I return.

On Sunday morning, upon my return, I am leading a memorial service for a wonderful man who was a legendary father and grandfather.  The stories I have heard about him made me remember my own, and reminded me that even though I had a short time with him in my life, he left me with memories I will cherish forever, and a legacy that leads me through life even today.  How fortunate we are if we have parents and grandparents who shower us with unconditional love.  I know that this man’s presence was terribly missed at the family’s Thanksgiving this year, but they remembered him with joy and happiness, a true testament to the legacy he left behind.

Shortly after I return, I will be leaving for St. Maarten, where I will be officiating the wedding of Keith & Faith.  This is an amazing power-couple!  I cannot wait to spend time with them and their families, and I know this trip is going to be another life-changing experience.  I love my job!

Stay tuned, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Oh – PS – GO GATORS!

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