There are so many creative ways to incorporate two religions and different traditions into an interfaith wedding. To hear some of the most interesting who better to turn to then our favorite interfaith cantor, Cantor Debbi? Debbi understands that when you’re single you can lose your faith and observance, but when you are getting married, and you start thinking about raising a family, you want to pass on certain traditions and values.
What are some of the creative ways you’ve seen couples blend Jewish traditions?
“We want to include rituals and traditions that define who we are but we take out the religious component sometimes. So the chuppah is about the openness of the home you will build together. When the groom or couple break the glass, we are talking about the frailty of life, always remembering that life is precious.”
“I once had a couple where one was Jewish and the other side was Pagan. They decided to do a hand fastening where they tied a ribbon around the groom’s hand holding his bride’s, seven times, along with the seven blessings, and they left the ceremony connected to one another. They wrote a wonderful explanation about how this symbolized their unity, and that even when things get hard, we must take each other’s hand and get through it together. The families had been so skeptical about the mix of two vastly different religions but once the concept was explained everyone was relieved, and it truly turned out beautifully.”
They decided to do a hand fastening where they tied a ribbon around the groom’s hand holding his bride’s, seven times, along with the seven blessings, and they left the ceremony connected to one another.
Another wedding Cantor Debbi officiated hit some conflict between the couple and their traditional parents when it came to the idea of them standing under the chuppah.
“The wedding took place in Grand Cayman and both sets of parents had a dream about bringing their children to the chuppah but the bride and groom wanted them to sit. I explained to the couple that that is a parents’ purpose in life and they are not able to fulfill this purpose, this dream they’ve had for so long! Then I spoke to parents and tried to show them how their children saw it. I explained to them that they are adults now, they are established. They are not leaving your home as strangers and or in an arranged marriage, like we used to do traditionally.”
“We reached a compromise that the parents would bring them to the chuppah and then the couple is going to take those final steps together. It was all about both sides understanding each other, and having open communication with one another.”
What is your favorite part of your job?
“I love that I get to experience the happy moments in someone’s life. When you are standing at a chuppah, you know this couple is anticipating the challenges to come, but they got here, to this point, to this moment. Looking over to their parents’ and seeing how thrilled they are. Everyone get the ceremony of their dreams and that is incredibly rewarding. The joy I get by bringing joy to other people is immense.”
What other questions do you want to ask Cantor Debbi?