In April 2003 Liberal Judaism was pleased to announce a significant development in their approach to mixed faith marriage blessings. As part of an evolutionary process, the Rabbinic Conference of Liberal Judaism had been reviewing the rules that have been in force for some years regarding rabbinic participation in blessings for mixed faith marriages.
A ceremony of this kind can be highly creative and meaningful for both families and Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk would be delighted to help you design it. She has conducted several ceremonies in the past and can give you a great deal of support.
Many people want to know what they can and can’t do, so here is a brief synopsis – it should be noted that this is specifically about the ceremony. Rabbi Qassim Birk needs to meet with all couples to discuss details fully:
It is important that the liturgy and rituals should not in any way create the impression that the blessing ceremony constitutes a Jewish wedding and Rabbi Qassim Birk must be satisfied that, should there be children, the couple will be likely to bring them up as Jewish. Furthermore, couples must be civiliy married before this ceremony can be conducted and neither civil ceremony nor the mixed faith ceremony can take place on Shabbat or other days prohibited in Liberal Judaism (please speak with Rabbi Qassim Birk for more information about this).
What this means in practical terms is that there can be no chuppah (canopy), no ketubah (traditional marriage contract) and no sheva berachot (the traditional chain of seven blessings at a Jewish wedding). At FPS you will also find that Rabbi Qassim Birk will not conduct the ceremony with a minister of another religion.
You can have a ring exchange during the ceremony and the use of Hebrew and Hebrew songs is encouraged. You can also involve many members of your family and friends in the ceremony.
Liberal Judaism is committed to developing and sustaining Judaism for modernity and the future. We have learned from experience that when we embrace non-Jewish partners of Liberal Jews, we counter the effects of exclusion that lead to increasing levels of assimilation. We provide a platform for the whole family to commit to Jewish values and a Jewish way of life.
As important as the ceremony itself is discussing issues and motives for the ceremony and future aspirations for the home that the couple are creating. If you would like to talk more or get further information, please contact Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk on 020 8446 4063