Many of you might recall that line from the song â€œGet Me to the Church on Timeâ€ from the show and movie â€œMy Fair Ladyâ€. Allow me to clarify whatâ€™s going on here. Iâ€™m not getting married, Bâ€H Iâ€™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 Iâ€™d be able to celebrate simchas with some of my pre-BT friends children marrying Jews, Bâ€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. Weâ€™ll call them â€œJane and Johnâ€.
When I went to her engagement party, Jane asked me if â€œIâ€™d help her with the Jewish part of her weddingâ€, 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, â€œMade In Heavenâ€ by Rabbi Areyeh Kaplan ztâ€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 Iâ€™d seen. I also included Herman Woukâ€™s â€œThis is My G-dâ€, since I think thatâ€™s a nice, easy to read introduction to Judaism.
Janeâ€™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. Bâ€H, John is Jewish. Theyâ€™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 Iâ€™d been told originally they were going to get married in June, I went on that premise.
Now Iâ€™ve learned that, yes, they are getting married on a morning. At 11:30 on a Shabbos morning, right after Tisha Bâ€™av. Janeâ€™s dad (who could care less about religion) tells me that it was the only date that the venue was available.
Iâ€™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 â€œrabbiâ€, and yet performs a wedding on a Shabbos morning is probably a charlatan, and they therefore, may not have a â€œrealâ€ Jewish wedding. Perhaps, since theyâ€™ve already booked the place, they should go ahead and have a party, to be followed shortly thereafter by a small Jewish marriage ceremony?
Sheâ€™s a school teacher, doing a masters degree, so sheâ€™s quite busy. Of course, as is the norm these days, theyâ€™re living together. They were supposed to join us for Purim Seudah, but never showed up. Jane tells me sheâ€™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 canâ€™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. Itâ€™s in Manhattan, and by the time I would get there, it would probably be over. Itâ€™s very sad because at my daughterâ€™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 â€œmy blessing had workedâ€.
The good news is that both of these couples are â€œmarrying inâ€. The bad news is that these pseudo rabbis will probably perform a ceremony that isnâ€™t even remotely kosher.
Iâ€™d love some feedback from the Beyond BT community.