Posts in : Interfaith Weddings Blog
by Mishka O
With the increasing number of interfaith marriages and communities spreading across the country, it comes as a shock to hear reports of discrimination against interfaith couples. Sadly, they still persist and surface from time-to-time.
A couple were refused a non-religous service at a hotel in Illinois because of their faiths.
Interfaith couple, Alexandra Katzman and Jonathan Webber of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, planned to hold their wedding at the Bernadine’s Stillman Inn in Galena, Illinois. Katzman (who is Jewish) and Webber (who is Christian) were engaged at the inn, and wished to celebrate their marriage at the same place.
They had paid a deposit for a non-religious wedding in May 2016, but when they finalized details the hotel owner refused to allow them a ceremony per their wishes. Owner Dave Anderson is said to have told them that he would only allow a Christian service.
Katzman and Webber, who who then went on to have their wedding elsewhere, have filed a religious discrimination complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, according to a report by The Associated Press on Wednesday. The couple are being represented by the American Civil Liberties. They hope the complaint will prompt a state ruling against the inn which will facilitate future couples.
Talking about being rejected from having a non-religious wedding at the Bernadine’s Stillman Inn by Hotel owner Anderson, Katzman told WGN-TV: “He just kept saying that he wouldn’t allow it or he would only allow ceremonies that allow God or religion… He said your wedding is not a good fit.”
In response, Anderson told WGN-TV that he can “only do religious weddings” because of a city regulation in Galena, Illinois. The city has denied such a rule, saying that they no such regulation. The Associated Press attempted to contact him for comment, but Anderson declined.
by Mishka O
As per Jewish law, witnesses have one of the most important roles in a wedding ceremony. For a Jewish marriage to be valid, there must be signatures from two witnesses on their ketubah. Who they are can differ per your perspective and values.
Traditionally both witnesses should be male, but there are certain Rabbis, in more liberal communities, that allow them to be female. They should be Jewish adults over the age of bar mitzvah. The two witnesses should not be related to the couple to be married, nor should they be related to each other. No relatives by blood or marriage of the bride and groom can serve as a witness on a ketubah. That includes your
- father, mother, step-father,or step-mother;
- grandfather, grandmother, step-grandfather or step-grandmother;
- great-grandfather, great-grandmother, etc.;
- sons and sons-in-law, daughters, and daughter-in-law;
- grandsons, granddaughters, grand-sons-in-law or grand-daughers-in-law;
- brothers and brothers-in-law, sisters and sisters-in-law;
- uncles and great-uncles, aunts and great-aunts (by blood or marriage);
- cousins (by blood or marriage); and
- nephews, nieces, great-nieces or great-nephews (by blood or marriage).
Who to choose as your witness?
Witnesses hold a special place in your life. You will forever see their signature besides you and your spouse’s on your ketubah, which is why they need to be someone who is important in your life. In interfaith marriages, with permission from the rabbi, you can ask for a non-Jewish witness to be there to sign your wedding document.
“When my husband and I sat down to talk about who would sign our interfaith ketubah, we agreed that we didn’t just want to ask close friends. After all, there are many ways to honor those you love at your wedding, but signing a ketubah is a special responsibility. So instead, we each spent some time thinking about which friends of ours had the type of marriage that we wanted to emulate in our own relationship.”
by Mishka O
With over 40% of marriages in America being between individuals of different faiths, the idea of interfaith marriages should be easy to absorb. Yet couples struggle with resistance from their families who do not accept their union. To help interfaith couples deal with the negativity around them, several support groups have come forward.
The best way to come to terms with your problems and solve them is by discussing it with others who have been or are going through it. Interfaith Community aims to bring couples from different religious backgrounds together and help them beat the negativity surrounding them.
The group based in New York holds couples workshops, private counseling sessions and has an elementary school curriculum designed to teach the fundamentals of Judaism and Christianity for interfaith families.
Sheila Gordon, the group’s president, told the NY Times: “In this multicultural, global, diverse world, where people are bringing many differences into a family, the old post-World War II paradigm, where you married the boy next door and everyone went to the same church, has completely changed.”
According to Dr. Gordon, as much as 100 children are enrolled in the educational programs geared towards bridging an understanding between both religions. But the number of pre-marital couples attending workshops has gone down, despite the number of interfaith marriages going up.
Interfaith Community’s president believes its because of the change in mindset of millennials. “The millennial ethos of fairness and respect means [millennials] don’t feel threatened by entering into this kind of partnership,” she said.
Although some couples may not deem them necessary, others have found such programs life-changing. Especially for those with families. The adult programs by the group stress that adults in interfaith relationships be knowledgeable and appreciative of their own and their partner’s religion. It not only elongates an interfaith relationship, but is “critical to effective, respectful parenting around religion.”
by Mishka O
Interfaith marriages are on the rise. But despite their popularity, children are still only taught to marry within their faith. And when they do otherwise, interfaith couples struggle to balance each other’s beliefs and maintain a stable marriage.
To fill in the gaps, many support programs sponsored by international Jewish organisations have sprung up. Rather than alienate interfaith couples and families, they provide resources to develop a better understanding of both religions and bring couples closer.
Yesterday, the New York Times published an article on “finding common ground in interfaith marriage.” They highlighted a program in particular Honeymoon Israel. Based in Buffalo, the organization offers interfaith partners, as well as homosexual couples, subsidized 10-day trips to Israel.
The trip allows them to connect with other couples in similar situations, whilst exploring Jewish culture and traditions. The couples are grouped by 20, stay in top hotels by the Mediterranean, and visit historic Jewish, Christian and Muslim sites in Israel.
“We don’t care what you believe in,” said said Avi Rubel, a founder of Honeymoon Israel. “You married into our family, so you’re in our family. We want couples to explore the issues on their own terms. We’re not trying to dictate how anybody feels about being Jewish or about Israel.”
Another organization highlighted in the NY Times article was InterfaithFamily, a non-profit based off the website, interfaithfamily.com. It helps interfaith couples who have difficulty finding a rabbi to officiate at their wedding by providing them with one.
In just five years, the non-profit has expanded to eight cities, where they also host couples discussion groups, religious services and social events for interfaith families. “Couples need safe spaces to be with others just like them,” said Rabbi Ari Moffic, who’s in charge of the Chicago branch. “If you Google ‘interfaith marriage,’ you’ll still find negative headlines.”
What way to better celebrate an Interfaith marriage than with a Ketubah with a world map? After all, the whole core of an Interfaith is love and acceptance — not just in marriage, but throughout the whole world. We love this Ketubah from TINAK — the sprawling world map with different textures and colors stunningly highlights the beauty of diversity. This Ketubah beautifully captures the diversity and unity of marriage, especially one that is Interfaith!
Sometimes you just have to play into your inner nerd! We love this new design from the team at TINAK — perfect for the couples that love to play video games or remember the days of playing atari and pac-man. The black background and pixelated details creates the perfect retro video game feel. The extra heart at the top finishes the design with the perfect romantic touch! As self-confessed video game nerds, we couldn’t help but recommend this Ketubah! Make your custom order here…
Henna or more traditionally known as Mehndi, is one of the most iconic elements of an Indian wedding — thus perfect for an Interfaith Ketubah design! Among all the awesome Interfaith couples we have worked with, Jewish-Hindi couples are definitely one of the more common. This stunning design comes from the team over at TINAK, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you all today. We love this Ketubah for its moving representation of commitment and faith — a testament to true love transcending any hurdle or difference. Love this design? Make your Custom Order here!
Here at Interfaith Ketubahs, we mostly write and post a lot about wedding ideas, planning inspirations and tips and Ketubahs of course! This week we thought we’d take a moment to share an awesome article and video about after the big party and signing of the Ketubah — when life happens. Afterall, the wedding is just the first step and mark of the beginning of the rest of your lives together. Then comes everyday life, work and for many, children! And let’s be brutally honest here for a second. For many, all of those different factors can be difficult on their own… that’s life when you’re married!
All of those on top of being an Interfaith couple and family can be even harder and more tricky. But we’ve found (like many other awesome couples out there!), that striking that perfect balance of respect, understanding and unconditional love can create and unlock even more exciting and new sides of your relationship with your wife or husband.
HuffPost Religion recently interviewed Susan Katz Miller, author of Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family. She had a ton of insight and important things to say regarding Interfaith marriages. Her biggest secret to a successful Interfaith marriage?
“shared values and a lot of love…”
Watch the whole interview here and tell us what you think!
Marking the 5th conference in the past few decades, The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions will hold its’ 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah — making this the first time in 22 years! The conference will talk about several different topics including global violence, climate change and wealth gap. In efforts to have younger attendees, the Parliament is offering discounts depending on time of registration.
Team Interfaith Ketubah is SUPER excited to see the conference coming here! Sadly we’re not in Salt Lake City, but we will definitely be keeping up with all the photos, tweets, and articles surrounding this awesome event. Click here to register, donate, or get more information on the 2015 Conference!
We would like to spell A-W-E-S-O-M-E for all the Ketubah points! :) We couldn’t be more excited to introduce the Scrabble Ketubah! This awesome design from This is Not a Ketubah features a Scrabble board spelling out “Ani LeDodi VeDodi Li”, or “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is Mine”. As word nerds ourselves, we love the idea of a Scrabble Ketubah — or any fun game or hobby that we enjoy! Love this Ketubah? Make a custom order here!