Jewish - Christian Interfaith Ceremony

Welcoming:

Officiant:

________________and ____________ welcome you today, in gratitude for the important roles you have played in their lives.  You have each played a part in the wonderful people they have become. Your love and support has enabled them to grow, and to be able to share their love with each other here today.

Their families and friends represents a circle of love.  A circle of love where members care for each other, love each other, and nurture each other, in good times and in bad.  Today, _______ and __________ join their lives together to create a new family circle, one that overlaps with, and is made stronger by each of the other circles from which it has emerged.  Today, you are here to witness the creation of this new circle of love, and to offer your support for their new family in the years to come.”

Explanation of Chuppah:

“Another Jewish wedding tradition is the “Chuppah”.  The chuppah is a symbol of a loving home.  The structure of the chuppah is not much more than a hint, or a suggestion of the possibilities before them.  It is up to them to make it solid.  The chuppah covers the couple from above with protection from the harshest of elements, but does not protect them from everything.  Together, they will weather their storms, and their love will grow stronger as a result.  The chuppah’s sides are open to allow in sunshine and fresh air, which nurtures them both.  It symbolizes their willingness to be open and honest with each other, and it does not allow for secrets to be kept inside.”

“Inside this chuppah, just as inside of the new home they will create, there is the love from their families who raised them, as well as the love they have found with each other.

Shehechyanu:

Officiant:  “In the Jewish tradition, there is a very special prayer that is said upon reaching a joyous occasion, called the Shehechyanu.  The Shehechyanu is said when a baby is born, when a baby learns to walk, upon celebrating religious and educational milestones, at important holiday celebrations, and on the union of two people who join together in the sacred bond of marriage.  The Shehechyanu expresses our gratitude for being able to be with ___________________ and ____________ on this very special occasion. “

“Blessed are you, creator of the universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and permitted us to celebrate this joyous occasion.”

“Baruch ata Adonai elohenu melech haolam Shehecheyanu Vekeeyamanu Vehigeeyanu Lazman Hazeh.”

Blessing of the Wine:

“Blessed are you, creator of the universe, who has given us the fruit of the vine. “

“Baruch ata Adonai elohenu melech haolam boray p’re hagoffen.”

(The couple shares a drink from the glass.)

May the joys of your life together be as plentiful and sweet as the fruits of the vine. Though even in this day of joy, we must remember those who are not as fortunate as you are. At this time we pour out a few drops of wine in hopes that one day all people will be allowed to pledge their love as you do here today.

Reading by a Christian friend of the couple:

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


Unity Candle:

Officiant:  From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven.  And when two souls are destined to find each other, their two streams of light flow together, and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being.

Officiant:  “________ and _________’s marriage not only brings together two individuals who are very much in love, but two faith traditions, and two sets of friends and families.  Together, ____________and ____________ bring all of these strengths into their marriage.   Individually, they now receive the flame from their own candles, which their Mothers have lit for them.  Together, they will now light their Unity Candle.   This shared light symbolizes the beginning of their new life together, and the family they are creating together.”

___________and __________   jointly light the Unity Candle, and return to face each other, as Officiant says, “May the strengths of family, friends, tradition, and love nurture your commitment, and may the beauty of your relationship light your way”.

(Flowers bouquets can be used instead of candles, to create a Unity Bouquet.  The last part would then read, “May your love continue to blossom all the days of your lives”.


Wedding Vows:

Officiant:  “____________ and ___________, I now ask you to turn to one another as you exchange your vows”:

Partner One:

“I, _______, take you, ______, to be no other than yourself

Loving what I know of you

Trusting what I do not yet know

With respect for your integrity

And faith in your love for me

Through all our years

And in all that life may bring us.

I promise to try to be ever open to you

And above all, to do everything in my power

To permit you to become the person you are yet to be.

I give you my love.”


Partner Two:

“I,_________, take you, _____, to be no other than yourself

Loving what I know of you

Trusting what I do not yet know

With respect for your integrity

And faith in your love for me

Through all our years

And in all that life may bring us.

I promise to try to be ever open to you

And above all, to do everything in my power

To permit you to become the person you are yet to be.

I give you my love.”


Ring Ceremony:

(Groom)_____________says: “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” And ______ places the ring on partner’s finger.

(Bride)_________________says: “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” And ______ places the ring on partner’s finger.

Ketubah:

Officiant:  “The document ___________ and _________ are signing/ have signed is called a “Ketubah”.  It is a written promise they make to one another, in front of their families and friends as witnesses.  They will display the ketubah in their home as a reminder of their love and commitment for one another.”

(It is traditional to sign the Ketubah before the wedding, but you can sign it during the ceremony too. Whatever you prefer.)


A relative or friend reads the 7 Blessings (contemporary version):

“___________ and ___________ have asked _____________ to recite seven wedding blessings.”

“May your marriage be as sweet as the fruit of the vine.

May you work together to build a relationship of substance and quality.

May the honesty of your communication build a foundation of understanding, connection and trust.

May you respect each other’s individual personality and philosophy, and give each other room to grow and fulfill each other’s dreams.

May your sense of humor and playful spirit continue to enliven your relationship.

May you understand that neither of you is perfect: you are both subject to human frailties; and may your love strengthen when you fall short of each other’s expectations.

May you be ‘best friends,’ better together than either of you are apart.”

May you continue to be best friends, better together than either of you are apart.

Explanation of Yichud and Breaking the Glass(es):

Officiant:  “In a moment, ____________ and _____________ will be joined in marriage.  Immediately afterward, this special couple will be spending a few quiet moments together to savor the spiritual significance of this day, in the Jewish tradition of Yichud.  Then, after a few minutes, they will join their guests for wishes in the reception area.

The custom of “breaking the glass” has a number of interpretations.  Some say it is a symbol of the love that will remain in good times, and in sorrow.  The permanence of the broken glass represents a permanent change in the lives of this couple, as well.  Just as glasses are broken and cannot ever be exactly the same as they once were, their lives will never be quite the same.  ____________ and _____________, our wish for you today is that the innumerable pieces of the glass beneath your feet will be a reminder of the innumerable ways you will love each other in the years to come.”

Pronouncement:

Officiant:  “By the power of your love, and by the commitment you have made to each other, together, we now pronounce you “husband and wife” (or “partners for life”).

___________________ and _________________break the glasses (Some witnesses may spontaneously shout or sing “Mazel Tov!”.)

Officiant: “You may now seal your union with a kiss!”

Officiant:  We close with a final blessing for your marriage:  “Y’varech’cha Adonai v’yish’m’recha. Ya’eir Adonai panav eliecha vi’y’chuneka. Yisa Adonai panav eilecha v’yasem l’cha shalom.”

“May God bless you and keep you. May God’s presence shine upon you and be gracious to you. May God’s presence be with you and give you shalom; peace.”

Officiant:  “Having joined their lives in unity for the first time, I present to you, _______________________ and __________________________________
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