Connecting Interfaith Families to Jewish Life in Greater Cleveland by providing programs and opportunities for interfaith families to experience Judaism in a variety of venues, meet other interfaith families, and to connect to other Jewish organizations that may serve their needs.
A great way for Jewish professionals and volunteers who work with and provide programming for people in interfaith relationships to locate resources and trainings to build more welcome into their Jewish communities; connect with and learn from each other; and publicize and enhance their programs and services.
This was originally published as The Blogging Bride in InterfaithFamily.com’s Web Magazine.
All was ready. Downstairs, I could hear the string quartet tuning up as guests began to mill about and be seated. As I stood upstairs in the ballroom, I was surprised at how calm I felt. I had fully expected to be a nervous wreck by this time, but I just felt ready–ready to be married to the love of my life, ready to have a fun evening, ready to not be planning the wedding anymore!
Planning our interfaith wedding had been onerous at times, and I felt a little guilty at not being nervous. The rabbi and minister didn’t meet until an hour before the ceremony was to begin. They had talked via e-mail and on the phone about our ceremony, but they hadn’t met face-to-face. Shouldn’t that have made me nervous? What about the ceremony? It was different than any our families have ever witnessed before–should I have been nervous about how they’d react to it? Why wasn’t I?
Preparation… that’s why I didn’t feel nervous. Bryan and I spent the last nine months working diligently to make sure we got the wedding we wanted, but that respected our families’ wishes and traditions also. We chose a non-religious site, the historic YWCA building in downtown Fort Worth, and searched for a rabbi and minister willing to co-officiate.
Hello everyone… I guess the final countdown can officially begin! We’re in the final week before the wedding. Three more days of work, then it’s wedding event time. First, with the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, next up are the bachelor and bachelorette parties, then a day of rest, and finally the big day!
You would think that the big news of the weekend is that we picked up our wedding bands, but it isn’t. No, the big news this weekend is that we’ll be able to go on our honeymoon. You see, I don’t have a passport, at least not one that was issued within the last 10 years and while I was at least 16 (or something like that). Ten weeks ago I went to the local postoffice and submitted my passport application, feeling comfortable enough with the length of time we still had to not pay for the passport to be expedited. Well, after weeks of waiting, and really starting to stress over not having my passport, the online status page finally told me that it has been shipped, and that I should have it by this Wednesday. What a huge relief!
I strongly suggest that if there’s even a chance that you’ll be traveling outside of the country within the next 6 months, get your application in now. With the recent passport requirement changes, they are absolutely swamped with applications.
Oh…one other great thing from this weekend is the wedding gift from my dad and step-mom. They came over for dinner Saturday night and brought our gift with them–2 beautiful silver and gold shabbat candle holders, and a matching kiddush cup. Just in time for the wedding ceremony, too! I had just asked my dad the day before if they had a kiddush cup that we could use during the ceremony.
The Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner are two weeks from today. It feels like there are still a million things to do, and only a handful of opportunities to do them. Of course, adding to the stress is work–if there are a million wedding things left to do, then there are at least a million and one tasks to do at work before the wedding and honeymoon! All of this said, the wedding day can’t get here fast enough. I am so excited, and so looking forward to spending the rest of my life with Julie.
Truth be told, I did have a butterfly episode a couple of weeks ago, but it involved the ceremony itself, not the marriage…
One of Julie’s bridesmaids got married recently, and Julie was in the wedding. Being the good guy that I am, I drove Julie to the church for the rehearsal, and watched and waited patiently while they rehearsed. Sitting there in the church sanctuary, watching them practice, I suddenly became very nervous. I wanted to go to the JP, or run off to Vegas…anything but having to stand up there in front of all those people, stumbling over everything I have to say! Oddly enough, as soon as the rehearsal was over, the butterflies were gone.
Let’s see…you know that we’ll have a rabbi and Methodist minister co-officiating our wedding ceremony, but we really haven’t talked much about the specifics of the ceremony, have we?
When we met with Rabbi Marc and his wife a few months ago, one of the things he offered to do, as part of his services, was to write a personalized ceremony for us, incorporating the various elements from both traditions that we’d previously discussed. What we ended up with was an inclusive ceremony that we hope will not make anyone uncomfortable, and should be unlike any ceremony that any of our guests have ever seen.
Some of the things we’ve included in the ceremony are: the 7 Jewish Wedding Blessings, the lighting of a unity candle, a reading from Corinthians 1:13 (I think, that’s right), Kiddush, and the smashing of a wine glass at the end. When we sign the marriage license for the state, we will also be signing an interfaith Ketubah. Also, instead of my parents walking me down the aisle, as is customary in a Jewish wedding, my two children will walk me down the aisle.
We feel really good about what we came up with, along with Rabbi Marc, and are eagerly awaiting the big day! If anyone is interested in the ceremony in greater detail, please leave a comment with a way to contact you.
25 days to go! The final countdown has begun and I’m alternating between extreme excitement and nerve attacks. Let me clarify, though, that the nerve attacks are always about THE WEDDING, not THE MARRAIGE.
Yesterday evening, we ordered our wedding rings (maybe a little late in the process for some people’s comfort-zones, but when you’ve got a jeweler in the family…).
This morning, we had our final pre-marital session with Reverend Bassford. We discussed mostly logistics today. We went through the ceremony that Rabbi Marc wrote for us and made some minor tweaks. We discussed how the rehearsal would likely go, and some minor details about the day of the wedding.
After going over the ceremony, Reverend Bassford said she thought the ceremony was inclusive, respectful of both traditions, and very nice. We laughed a lot this morning, and at the end of our session, we prayed together. It was a great way to start the day.
Since my last post was about Passover anxiety (at least last year’s Passover anxiety), I thought this post could be about Passover in another vein.
My wonderful, fabulous, Matron of Honor wanted to throw me a shower. She suggested Saturday, April 7 during one of our many emails. Perfect! I thought – Mom and Dad will be in town that weekend for Easter, so Mom can come to the shower, and what better opportunity for Mom to meet more of Bryan’s family? All of the local aunts and (female) cousins were invited to the shower, as were all the grandmothers. We were all set for a great time!
As the weekend planning began, Bryan called Grandma Daneman to see if anyone was interested in a family dinner while my parents were in town. My Mom and Dad have met both Bryan’s parents and his Mom’s extended family, but not the Daneman extended family. So, we thought the weekend would be perfect for that, also. Grandma reminded us, though, that the “perfect weekend” we chose was during Passover. With no chametz in the house, and the family keeping kosher for Passover, no Danemans were really in a position to host a large dinner. And eating out, if you’re keeping kosher for Passover isn’t easy, either, not to mention how big our party would be. With that in mind, it was easy enough to forgo the family meal – it made a very hectic weekend slightly less hectic.
However, this brought up something we hadn’t thought about in planning the shower. My wonderful, fabulous Matron of Honor isn’t Jewish, so she, like I, didn’t think about the shower being during Passover. I had no idea what she was planning to serve for food, though I knew cake would be served (at my request), so I quickly asked if it would be too much trouble to ensure that there be some fruit and veggie trays – some non-chametz, if you will – so that Bryan’s family didn’t have to (a) break Passover kosher rules or (b) sit around watching everyone else eat. She happily agreed and was very careful to make sure that everyone had plenty to eat and drink. The shower was a success and everyone had a great time.
This was a perfect reminder for me that from now on, there are two religious calendars to be mindful of when planning big events. This is not something I hadn’t thought of before, but this was the first time a potential conflict arose. I can guarantee that any calendars in our house will have all the Jewish and Christian holidays marked in big, bold letters (none of this small, italic font at the bottom of the day’s square) so as to help avoid any future faux pas! If anyone has another system that works well for them, I’d love to hear suggestions!
I admit, I read the Houston Chronicle’s online comics section just about every day. Imagine the fits of giggles that yesterday’s “Rhymes with Orange” induced. This is exactly how I felt about my first PassoverSeder – or rather, this is exactly what I was afraid of looking/sounding like last year.
My second PassoverSeder was last night with Bryan’s Dad’s side of the family. It was a crazy day – we left work early, raced to the house to let the pooch out and make a snack for the boys, then raced to pick up the boys at daycare. From there, we headed to Dallas (no racing involved when the boys are with us, of course!).
*** One year ago ***
The afternoon started out much the same as above, but I was a nervous wreck. That morning, as Bryan was “briefing” me on what to expect at that night’s Seder, he casually mentions that they go around the table, taking turns reading passages from the Haggadah. “WHAT?!? I’m going to have to READ ALOUD in front of your ENTIRE family at an important religious dinner?!?” I’ve never had an actual panic attack, but I came very close over the idea that I would be “performing” in front of potential future in-laws.
I was so nervous that I couldn’t enjoy or pay attention to the seder–I kept looking ahead to try to figure out which passage would be mine to read aloud. As silly as it sounds, even the way the dining area was set up made me nervous. Bryan is the first-born son (of a first-born son of a first-born son), so we were seated at the head table, basically facing the room. The dining room is raised about two steps above the living room, where extra tables were set up, so it really felt kind of like being on stage. Add to that the heightened importance of the gathering – not just a casual family dinner – and the finely set table, and I was just about beside myself–at least through the first two glasses of wine (surprisingly, after that, I relaxed a little).
As it turns out, I didn’t make any major blunders (though I’m sure I butchered some pronunciations), and I’m told that no one had any idea how really nervous I was, so I must have covered it well. The food was good, and, though we were exhausted after it all, I did have a good time.
This year I was much more relaxed through the seder. I actually relaxed a little and enjoyed the readings, without counting ahead to see which one would be mine. Our oldest read the 4 questions (in English) for the first time, while Bryan’s cousin read them in Hebrew. It was his first time to read them in Hebrew and he did a great job. We were all quite impressed.
The rest of the evening went well, and as usual, ended too soon. I was surprised to see that it was 10:00 when we got in the car to head home. We had a long drive and the morning rush to school and work would come early. As we drove off, I mentally compared last year’s Passover to this year’s. I chuckled to myself about how silly I was a year ago. Bryan didn’t even have to ask; he knew where I was, and I don’t think we’ve ever been more glad to be there together.
Well, for a change it’s been me slacking in the posting department. I’ll give the excuse that I’ve been packing and moving and getting caught up in wedding details, but really, that’s no excuse.
This weekend was quite busy. I’m officially out of my apartment now, and Bryan’s house–our house (wow, that sounds good!)–is full of boxes and excess furniture (that we’re trying to sell). The dog is rather confused, and the boys are having fun playing in all the boxes and general mayhem that accompanies moving. Bryan’s Dad came over on Sunday afternoon and was a HUGE help (THANK YOU, PHIL!)–moving furniture, putting together furniture, hanging blinds, etc.
Now Bryan and I have the task of combining homes. You never fully realize how much stuff you have until you have to box it all up and unpack it somewhere else, especially when that somewhere else is an already full house! And in a cruel twist, there’s also something a little humbling about seeing how much space is left on a moving truck after it’s loaded with all (well, almost all) your worldly possessions.
Oh, and did I mention that the timing of the move is impeccable? We have PassoverSeder tonight with Bryan’s family–a late night, if last year is any indication, when we’re still exhausted from this weekend. My parents will be in town this coming weekend for various activities (baseball games, wedding showers, Easter, bridal portraits). Then, the weekend after that, I’m co-hosting a shower (at the house) for a very close friend who’s getting married later in the month. We got to looking at calendars and Bryan and I realized that we have ONE weekend between now and our wedding that isn’t completely booked…So, we’ll be unpacked and really settled in, oh, a year. Living out of boxes isn’t SO bad, right?