Our Last Vlog and Wedding Day Recap

Please note: I’ve posted this for Yolanda, who wrote the following post.

Hey there IFF,

So here we are, two months past our actual wedding date and we’re both enjoying the married life. Before we head off into wedded bliss, Arel and I are leaving you with a farewell video and some extra goodies to take a look at. We never talked about our actual wedding day so this is the video that finally covers how our day went and Arel included some pics for you guys to see how our wedding progressed that day.

We loved vlogging for InterfaithFamily.com and hoped that you enjoyed viewing our journey as much as we enjoyed documenting it for you guys. We wish you all a blessed life and for those of you getting married, good luck and enjoy the process. We welcome the next wedding bloggers, Jess and Erik, and wish them an awesome wedding and life thereafter.

Enjoy our last videos. We have video recapping our actual wedding, the video below that is a glimpse of the ceremony, and the third video showcases our unusual wedding dance. Let us know what you think.

Until we meet again,
Yolanda and Arel

We found our Rabbi!

Many people have asked us why we wanted a Rabbi instead of a justice of the peace or a non-denominational minister.  And I think that I would like to try to answer the question:

Have you ever just felt inside that something needed to be a certain way?  Maybe it was because of your upbringing or maybe it was because of your education.  But you just knew in your heart of hearts that if it wasn’t done that way that it would not feel as complete as you needed it to be.  Well.  I have just always known that I would be married by a Rabbi. This put Lu in a tough spot and I think added to the depth of our quest. I’ve felt that a Rabbi would be most amenable to the soul searching and thought that we sensed should be present in our wedding ceremony.  That is not to say that a non-denominational minister wouldn’t do just as good of a job.  I mean.  My own mother, Miki Young, is a non-denominational minister who often officiates at interfaith ceremonies.  And she is AWESOME.  I just feel better trusting this most important moment in our lives to a Rabbi.  It’s just important to me.

Our search for her was not as easy as we would have liked and I think much of it had to do with us in the end:

First, my need to have a Rabbi didn’t make it easy for Lu.  She was totally great in understanding why it was important to me, (and I think she often understood my need better than I did.) but I didn’t give her much of a choice in the matter.  The best that we could do was totally agree, 100%, without question, who the Rabbi was.

And second, we really felt that we needed someone who would help us to create a ceremony that was totally ours.  Someone that we really felt would go through each step of the process, piece by very piece, to help us discover how we could own the ceremony.  We were looking for someone who could make me feel like I was having a meaningful Jewish ceremony and allow Lu to have a ceremony that suited her and wasn’t too bogged down with customs that she couldn’t relate to.  Well.  We found her.

Yep.

You read right.  We found her!

Rabbi Marjorie Berman just stepped into our life with a bang and we couldn’t be happier.  Our quest was long, but it was totally worth it.  It took some persistence and some real thought, but I am positive that we couldn’t have made a better choice.  She is thoughtful and smart and nice and really knows how to get down into it; deep inside.  She asks questions that really make you think about who you are both as an individual and in the relationship.  She is energetic and funny and she cares as much as we do about current politicsHer library is bigger than ours and you can tell in the first minute of conversation the reason that she pursued the rabbinate.

Rabbi Berman couldn’t be better suited to us.  We have only had two meetings with her and we already feel like we are on the path to making our day more meaningful for us.  We are closer to creating a template on which to base our home and our life together.

And truthfully.

We couldn’t be happier.

-Alx

The Meet and Greet

As you’ve learned from Alx’s last post, we have been on a difficult journey in our quest to find our perfect rabbi. Therefore, even though I try to always keep an open mind, I went into our meeting with Rabbi Yitzhak Nates with a small level of skepticism.

Rabbi Nates greeted us kindly and warmly at his front stoop with his lovely dog, Buster. One point for Rabbi Nates, I love dogs. The first thing he said when he saw Alx, me, and our son Raiden was “how wonderful! The whole family is here! This is great!”. Two points for Rabbi Nates, I loved that he loved that my son was in attendance. Okay I know what your thinking, I hadn’t planned on having any sort of point system but when your sole purpose to meeting someone is to essentially judge them it’s kind of inevitable.

We were welcomed into Rabbi Nates home with open arms. We met his lovely wife and absolutely adorable daughter. Rabbi Nates was very laid-back and matter-of-fact which made me feel completely at ease. He started out the conversation by asking us to talk a little bit about ourselves and then reciprocated with his own background. Topics broached were wedding plans, my cultural background, Alx’s ties to Judaism, raising our son, diversifying the ceremony, and so on.

The meeting lasted about two and a half hours but it felt like fifteen minutes. Alx and I both felt that we could of just sat and chatted with Rabbi Nates all day. On our trek home, I realized that this is what I loved about him most. The fact that I didn’t feel as if it were any sort of interview or interrogation. It just felt like a nice, calm, Saturday afternoon visit with a friend. The experience just felt right.

Rabbi Nates gave me hope again. After months of no matches, I was starting to feel like an eHarmony reject. January is booked full of meeting after meeting with rabbis amongst several other wedding appointments (I’m totally looking forward to the tasting!). My outlook is much more positive towards this aspect of our wedding now. We don’t know if Rabbi Nates is The One yet, but he is the one that restored our confidence in finding The One.

Will the Right Rabbi Please Stand Up!

Our search for the right rabbi is making me nutty.  It seems to be this detailed and intricate journey where each turn has its own set of rules to navigate.  Each rabbi that I speak to turns our trajectory in a new direction and makes me think about what we are REALLY after.  I still haven’t found the answer.

Our lives are so simple, and this seems so complicated.  I’m Jewish.  Lu is not.

We want a wedding that embraces that Judaism but isn’t ALL about it.  I mean, as a couple, we’re not ALL Jew.  We want to pay tribute to the fact that there are two of us entering into this commitment.  Two people–with two belief systems, and two culturally distinct backgrounds.  Yes.  We have a Jewish son, who will have Jewish education and eat his mother’s matzah ball soup with a smile on (and, in our family, with chopsticks!)

But does that mean that we can’t show him what Christmas is?  Does he have to live in a house that is ONLY Jewish, when his parents aren’t only Jewish?

No.  Guys.  The answer is no.

Raiden will know the culture of both of his parents.  He will grow up experiencing the same feelings that we felt as children.  Lula when she found that Easter egg and me when I found that afikomen.  How great were those moments!?

So here is my thought process on the whole ordeal.  Interfaith marriage puts the couple into a game of statistics.  The 2000-01 National Jewish Population Survey says that only 1/3 of  intermarried couples will raise Jewish Children.  And the truth is that, as Jews, we want to see our faith carried on for generations to come.  We want to continue for as long as the human race.  So would a Rabbi marry a couple from two faiths with those numbers stacked against them?

So.  Ok.  It’s a gamble.  How would the rabbi who marries us KNOW that we will raise a Jewish family?  I mean.  She could take our word for it.

Here is the part that is problematic in our situation.  We have a child.  We have a JEWISH child.  So wouldn’t the continuation of Judaism in our family be a given?  Wouldn’t that then make our marriage secondary—since we have already fulfilled the pre-requisite for a Jewish future?

We have hope that we will find the right rabbi for us.  She is out there and we will work as hard and look as far as we have to, to find her.  She is waiting for our little family to tell us that our love for each other is paramount and that we are on the path to one long and happy life together.

Thanks for letting me rant.

-Alx