Many of you might recall that line from the song “Get Me to the Church on Time” from the show and movie “My Fair Lady”. Allow me to clarify what’s going on here. I’m not getting married, B”H I’ve been married for over 20 years. But two good friends of mine from way before I became frum have daughters whose weddings are on Shabbos. Finally, I had thought I’d be able to celebrate simchas with some of my pre-BT friends children marrying Jews, B”H, but Shabbos weddings seems to be the newest way that the secular community is disengaging themselves from Judaism.
This is about one of those couples, who are getting married at 11:30 on a Shabbos morning. We’ll call them “Jane and John”.
When I went to her engagement party, Jane asked me if “I’d help her with the Jewish part of her wedding”, which was a prospect that delighted me. One of the things she asked for was a book, and after much hesitation, I sent her what I consider to be the best book on what a Jewish marriage represents, “Made In Heaven” by Rabbi Areyeh Kaplan zt”l. Although it clearly speaks from the viewpoint of observance, ultimately I felt it got across the point of how significant a Jewish wedding is better than any other book I’d seen. I also included Herman Wouk’s “This is My G-d”, since I think that’s a nice, easy to read introduction to Judaism.
Jane’s background is basically to the left of Reform. But she did go on Birthright while in college, and after that had a Bat Mitzvah and made a firm decision to only date Jewish men. B”H, John is Jewish. They’d already selected a venue where they wanted their wedding to be, and I was able to track down a Rabbi who might be willing to marry them at that place. Since I’d been told originally they were going to get married in June, I went on that premise.
Now I’ve learned that, yes, they are getting married on a morning. At 11:30 on a Shabbos morning, right after Tisha B’av. Jane’s dad (who could care less about religion) tells me that it was the only date that the venue was available.
I’m trying to decide how, if at all, I should pursue things from here, since I did take helping her seriously. My gut feeling is leaning towards trying to communicate to her why someone who calls him or herself a “rabbi”, and yet performs a wedding on a Shabbos morning is probably a charlatan, and they therefore, may not have a “real” Jewish wedding. Perhaps, since they’ve already booked the place, they should go ahead and have a party, to be followed shortly thereafter by a small Jewish marriage ceremony?
She’s a school teacher, doing a masters degree, so she’s quite busy. Of course, as is the norm these days, they’re living together. They were supposed to join us for Purim Seudah, but never showed up. Jane tells me she’s too tired to do anything on the weekend (when I tried to invite her for a Shabbos) and the community they live in has virtually nothing to offer vis a vis Orthodox synagogues or outreach, so I can’t work that angle either.
Just last week I received an invitation for another couple, this time the wedding is a 7 PM on a Saturday night in June. It’s in Manhattan, and by the time I would get there, it would probably be over. It’s very sad because at my daughter’s wedding, the mom asked me to have this daughter in mind under the Chuppah, and called me up enthusiastically some months later to tell me “my blessing had worked”.
The good news is that both of these couples are “marrying in”. The bad news is that these pseudo rabbis will probably perform a ceremony that isn’t even remotely kosher.
I’d love some feedback from the Beyond BT community.