Mixed faith couples can have a wedding blessing from a rabbi under the Jewish chuppah (canopy) in a groundbreaking first announced by Liberal Judaism.
The Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors (CoLRaC) came to the decision this weekend, with it coming in to effect from Simchat Torah on October 10-11. It marks the first time any Jewish movement in the UK has introduced the symbolic chuppah into a mixed faith ceremony.
The move will be implemented “at the rabbi’s discretion and where the couple intend to maintain a Jewish home”, according to a CoLRaC statement.
Liberal Judaism’s interim director Rabbi Charley Baginsky said: “Our movement prides itself on its commitment to diversity and equality – so it was time to put our chuppah where our values are.
“Simchat Torah traditionally contains rituals that re-enact the marriage of Israel with the law. Introducing this new policy on such an auspicious day shows the centrality of welcoming the Jewish homes our families build in all shapes and forms.”
Liberal Judaism says it has always welcomed mixed faith couples and families into its synagogues and membership, but previously, only two Jewish people could have a marriage ceremony or blessing under a chuppah.
Rabbi Danny Rich, vice-president of Liberal Judaism, and a member of the Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors, wrote the paper that led to this move.
He said: “I have spent my career promoting a Liberal Judaism which is both inclusive but respectful of diversity. The offer of a chuppah – as a symbol of Jewish domestic values – affirms both a welcome and a respect for people who are embarking on a life-long relationship.”
CoLRaC chair Rabbi Aaron Goldstein said: “This is both a common sense and courageous decision to allow our rabbis and cantors discretion to use a chuppah, a symbol of the creation of a Jewish home blessed by God.”