Interfaith Minister & Rabbi Team
Many couples feel that they want to honor the tradition and culture of their families and the values that they have grown up with. For this we have many different options for couples who want to explore the wedding traditions of their cultures and religions. Cultural or religious customs can be added to any of our ceremonies, allowing you truly create a ceremony unique to you as a couple.
For Jewish or Interfaith Ceremonies we can accommodate both faiths with a Rabbi and Minister team.
Rabbi Sara Shonfeld is an Interfaith Rabbi who joined Ceremonies of the Heart in 2009. Rabbi Sara is Israeli born and came to the United States 22 year ago. Since then she has been teaching in Temples across Long Island. She is fluent in Hebrew, has extensive education in Jewish and Bible studies and is experienced in Jewish traditions and heritage.
We can perform a traditional Jewish Ceremony or an Interfaith ceremony (Jewish and any other religion) which will allow you to carry on cultural traditions in any venue.
Edy and Chris’ Interfaith Wedding Ceremony:
Convocation: Rev Deb
Welcome! We are gathered here today in the presence of family and friends, to join together Edy and Chris in the sacred union of Marriage.
In Exodus 25:8, God says “let them make me a Sanctuary that I may dwell with them”. In a Jewish wedding, The Chuppah – a drape of cloth suspended on four poles, under which the Wedding Blessings are said – is this Sanctuary.
Surrounded by loved ones whose joy and prayers are with you, you stand at this chuppah, a symbol of your new home.
Its four sides are open, symbolizing the importance of community and of participation in each other’s lives. Friends and family fill the home. May your home be a shelter against the storms, a haven of peace, a stronghold of faith and love.
We, their families and friends, form that community of love that together we may support and encourage them with our abundance of prayers and blessings on this day and for all of their lives.
Invocation: Rabbi Sara
At this time I ask that you all join me in a prayer and blessing for Edy and Chris as they begin the journey on their path of togetherness.
May God bless them and guide them on their journey together.
May divine Holy Spirit fill their hearts with unconditional love, and understanding. And may their continued kindness, compassion, trust and faith in each other and in God, be a constant example of the grace and beauty that the gift of love embodies for all of us.
We would also like to honor all those that could not be here with us today in body.
Memory candle: Rabbi Sara
We would also like to take a moment to honor those who have passed, especially, Valentine (Chris Dad) and Elizabeth (Edy Mom)
We know that she would be happy and proud of you both on this special day and we are certain that they are smiling down upon you. I know you can feel their loving presence in both of your hearts. We honor and acknowledge their loving memory. For all those not with us, Edy and Chris will light this memorial candle in loving tribute to them.
Please join me in reciting the Lords prayer: Rev Deb
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us
and lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil..”
1st reading: Rabbi Sara & Rev Deb:
Our first reading is from the Song of Songs. It is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament—one of the five megillot (scrolls). It is also known as the Song of king Solomon to his beloved Shulamid.
The Song is often interpreted as an allegorical representation of the relationship of God and Israel, or for Christians, God and the Church or as husband and wife.
אני לְדוֹדִי וְדוֹדִי לִי, הָרֹעֶה בַּשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים
I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine, that feedeth among the lilies.
כְּשׁוֹשַׁנָּה בֵּין הַחוֹחִים, כֵּן רַעְיָתִי בֵּין הַבָּנוֹת.
As a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
הִנָּךְ יָפָה רַעְיָתִי, הִנָּךְ יָפָה עֵינַיִךְ יוֹנִים.
Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thine eyes are as doves. 1 I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
כְּתַפּוּחַ בַּעֲצֵי הַיַּעַר, כֵּן דּוֹדִי בֵּין הַבָּנִים; בְּצִלּוֹ חִמַּדְתִּי וְיָשַׁבְתִּי, וּפִרְיוֹ מָתוֹק לְחִכִּי.
As an apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. Under its shadow I delighted to sit, and its fruit was sweet to my taste
Address: Rev Deb
There is a passage by Daphne Rose Kingma, called Real Love, that I would like to share with you today as we begin the address segment of our ceremony which exemplifies the importance of love in our lives.
“For it is in loving, as well as in being loved, that we become most truly ourselves. No matter what we do, say, accomplish, or become, it is our capacity to love that ultimately defines us. In the end, nothing we do or say in this lifetime will matter as much as the way we have loved one another.”
We come here today in a celebration and expression of love! Love is perhaps the greatest gift that is given us, it is our inherent nature and our sole true purpose in life; to love one another.
Love provides us with the core sustenance of life; it nourishes our spirits and fuels our souls. Love compels us, motivates us, brings joy to our hearts and truly gives us life. We can endure many things in this world but without being able to share and feel love our lives would be as an empty shell. When we are able to give and receive the gift of love, our life becomes full and energized and hopeful with unbounded possibilities, love truly is life. These two people that you see standing here before you, their souls have made a commitment to each other to love, support, and share life. This is not merely a verbal commitment but a promise of the heart and soul.
Edy and Chris have found the gift of love in each other, they have found the joy, comfort, and peace that comes from being with that special person whom you know is your best friend, your equal, your partner. They come before all of you who are their families and friends; you who hold their memories, their history, their pasts, their present, and now again they ask you to share and bare witness to this new chapter.
As some of you may know their journey began when they met one night on a dance floor right here in the city. Chris was there at the invitation of a friend and Edy’s plan was to have a few dances and get home on the early side. Chris and Edy danced and then it was time for Edy to go. Chris asked for her phone number, and called on that Monday and that was the beginning. Edy and Chris’s relationship over the last 7 1/2 years has evolved into this beautiful loving partnership that you see here today.
In their relationship Edy and Chris have grown together and they provide balance for each other. They understand that communication, patience, understanding, passion, and laughter is vital to their relationship. The core of their relationship is the strong love that they have for each other! A love that for each of them comes in many different and amazing ways;
For Chris, his love for Edy is strong and sure, he knew early on that she was the one! He admires her beauty, her kindness, her pure heart and her creativity. She has a special spirituality that she has passed on to him, and she helps him see things in the world and with people that he didn’t see before. He adores the easy way she supports him, cares for him and understands him. He loves that she is fun and so easy to be with and he loves the way Edy loves him back, she is his love and his life!
For Edy, Chris is her love, her support and her strength. She loves his kindness and his big heart! He is always there for her no matter what and this provides her with a sense of security, harmony and love. She admires his intelligence and his desire to always learn. She loves how even though her mom had passed away 9 years before she met him, he has gotten to know her through Edy! In fact Edy thinks she sent Chris to her! He is her compliment and partner is all ways!
Together they are best friends. They honor and balance each other perfectly. They create a cycle of love that strengthens their connection every day! They are better together than they are separately! In Yiddish, there’s a word “bershert” which means “it is meant to be.” Edy and Chris are each others “bershert” they are a perfectly right fit for each other, they are meant to be! They share generous and caring spirits, a strong sense of family values, a mutual respect, love and commitment to each other that is immeasurable. Their love has grown into a relationship that embraces all the values that create a strong and lasting Marriage.
Often we think of a wedding as the union of two people. In reality, it is much broader than that, Edy and Chris come here today, not only to join their hearts together as Husband and Wife, but also to join together as a family, each person strong and loving in their individuality and roots, coming together as one new family.
As part of the family nature of marriage, we would like to recognize and honor Jonathan and Jake and Ronit and Dannah in the significant role they play in this union celebrated today. Edy and Chris would like to express their love and thanks to all of them
Today we join these two beautiful spirits, and their families. Edy and Chris wish to express and honor the important role that family plays in their lives today and everyday. Edy and Chris would like to thank all of you for your continued love, and support.
2nd readings: Rabbi Sara
Love is the silver lining in the “Song of Songs” and the thread that weaves our connection to one another.
The word LOVE is mentioned in the Torah many times.
The love for God and the love and care for each other, the love for your neighbor and the love for oneself, the love for nature and our world.
The LOVE between a husband and wife.
1 Corinthians. 13:4-13
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.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.
Candle Ceremony: Rev Deb, with the Jake and Ronit as a family.
At this time we would like to call up their kids Jake and Ronit to join us on the alter.
For centuries fire has symbolized life, spirit, strength, initiation, and rites of passage. Today each of your candles represents your individual spirits, your individual lights and all that you bring to this family.
Together you shall light the brighter, stronger candle that represents the union of these two families.
From every human being there rises a light
That reaches straight to heaven.
And when souls that are destined to be together
Find each other, their streams of light flow together,
And this brighter light goes forth from their united being.
Consecration: Rev Deb
Instituted in antiquity and revered throughout all time, Marriage is the most tender of human relationships. It is therefore not to be entered into unadvisedly, but reverently and consciously. Into this holy estate these two persons come now to be joined.
I ask you both, as you stand in the presence of your family and friends, to remember that love, loyalty and compassion alone will avail as the foundation of a happy and enduring home. No other human ties are more tender, no other vows more sacred than those that you will now assume. If these sacred vows are honored and kept close to your hearts, and you endeavor to always live according to the best that is within each of you, your life together will be full of joy, peace and love.
Consent/Intent: Rabbi Sara
In the presence of God, family and friends, I ask you to state your intentions.
Edy and Chris, have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?
Will you love and honor each other as husband and wife for the rest of your lives?
Edy and Chris respond: I will.
Vows Rev Deb
Chris : Edy,
If I know what love is it is because of you.
Where there was cold you have brought warmth.
Where my life was dark you have brought light.
Our courtship has been among the best days of my life.
You have become not just my lover and companion but my best friend.
I wish for us to continue as lovers and companions and best friends for the rest of my days.
I want you to be my wife.
I promise to care for you, respect and honor you as we grow old together.
I vow to stand by your side through the best and worst of times, to laugh with you as much as possible and to hold you when you cry.
I promise to love you, cherish you and keep you in my heart.
I vow, here before our families and friends, to be your husband, to face whatever challenges we meet together, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, from this day forward.
And What is a vow?
And A promise?
And A thought about how we hope to behave toward another?
And A desire to create dimensions by which we choose to live?
And Do the vows change as we change and grow and evolve?
And It seems that this is so. And sometimes it is not.
And It is through you and your desire to be the best you can be that creates in me the desire to be the best I can be with you and for you.
And We are each others feed yet,
And we are also two circles, each created by the self.
And Our circles merge, at certain points,
And we can still be who we are,
And we value the need for separateness and sharing
And that enables us to continue to be strong and alive.
And, Yet, never forget that even when the individuality is frolicking,
Life is truly unimaginable with out you in it…
And The love we have has been filled with pearls of wisdom.
And These little jewels have given us the strength to take chances,
and to show our true selves to one another without fear of judgment or withdrawal. And Our love has illuminated the darkness and created a dimension of light that is filled with plenty of color and movement.
And There is no black or white but an array of color that is constant and abundant. I never knew that such colors existed in love.
And I want to be your constant
And I want you to know I have your back
And I will love who you are
And I will be excited to meet who you will become
And I will hear your stories knowing that they will bring me closer to you
And I share myself with you in an authentic and intimate way
And I will love your family as my own
And I will change
And I will continue to ask that we share our hearts
And I will hear your moon stories and hear your myths
And I will never forget the story of the Crow
And I will carry the crow within me, as you carry the crow within you
And know, my beloved that together we can do anything!
I will always love you and each day defines what that means and I look forward to being in that place of discovery with you.
Intimacy-into me you see-forever.
Traditional vows: Rev Deb
Do you Chris, take Edy to be you wife, your partner, and your love Do you promise this day to share your life with her, to respect her, honor her, support her and love her, through life’s challenges and celebrations will you stand by her side from this day and for all the days of your life? Response: I will
Do you Edy, take Chris to be you husband, your partner, and your love Do you promise this day to share your life with him, to respect him, honor him, support him and love him, through life’s challenges and celebrations will you stand by his side from this day and for all the days of your life? Response: I will
Blessing of the Rings: Rabbi Sara
“The Circle is a perfect figure, without beginning, without end, with no area of weakness. It is a symbol of the Cycle of Life, of birth, death, and rebirth. These rings shall serve as a physical reminder of your vow, and that all things begin and end and begin again, as is the nature of life itself. These rings will remind you that life goes on, that moments pass, yet your love is constant. When you are engulfed in anger or in sadness, look to your hand, and remember that the Wheel turns forever onward, and that it is love that turns the Wheel.”
Exchanging of Rings: Rabbi Sara
Chris: Edy:”All that I am, /All that I do.
All that I shall dream /shall be ours together.
I take you as my wife, /my friend, my lover
From this day forth.”
Edy: Chris,”All that I am, All that I do.
All that I shall dream shall be ours together.
I take you as my husband, my friend, my lover
From this day forth.”
The SHEVA BRACHOT (Seven Blessings): Rabbi Sara and Rev Deb
ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי הגפן
Blessed is the ruler of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine
ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, שהכל ברא לכבודו
Blessed is the glory of all creation.
ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, יוצר האדם
Blessed is the creation of the Human Being
ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, אשר יצר את האדם בצלמו, בצלם דמות תבניתו, והתקין לו ממנו בניין עדי עד. ברוך אתה ה’, יוצר האדם
Blessed is the design of the Human Being, united in heart and the search for love.
שוש תשיש ותגל עקרה, בקיבוץ בניה לתוכה בשמחה. ברוך אתה ה’, משמח ציון בבניה.
Blessed is the joy of our gathering. May rejoicing resound throughout the world as the homeless are given homes, persecution and oppression cease, and all people learn to live in peace with each other and harmony with the earth.
שמח תשמח רעים האהובים, כשמחך יצירך בגן עדן מקדם. ברוך אתה ה’, משמח חתן וכלה.
Let these loving companions rejoice. May their joy be as paradise on earth.
ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, אשר ברא ששון ושמחה, חתן וכלה, גילה רינה, דיצה וחדווה, אהבה ואחווה, ושלום ורעות, מהרה ה’ אלקינו ישמע בערי יהודה ובחוצות ירושלים, קול ששון וקול שמחה, קול חתן וקול כלה, קול מצהלות חתנים מחופתם, ונערים ממשתה נגינתם. ברוך אתה ה’, משמח חתן עם הכלה.
Blessed is the creation of joy and celebration, Mariana and Joyia, delight and cheer, love and solidarity, peace and companionship. Blessed and praised is this love and this marriage
ברוך אתה ה’ אלוהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן
Wine is a universal symbol of joy – of the richness of life, the sweetness of love. It is appropriate therefore that on this happy occasion you toast life with this ancient symbol
Bride & Groom drink wine.
“As you have shared wine from this cup so may you draw happiness and fulfillment from the cup of life. May you find life’s joys heightened, it’s bitterness sweetened, and all things blessed by true compassion and love.”
Wedding Blessing: Rev Deb
Join me now in a final blessing for Edy and Chris as they walk hand and hand into the expandable horizon!
I ask you both to remember to:
Be together in harmony and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Empower each other and allow your relationship to evolve to its highest purpose. Nourish each others possibilities and lift up each others spirits. Care for one another, share your love openly and let it be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Sing and dance together and be joyful. Share your lives with each other and unite your love with our Creator. May your union last through all of your moments together, so that in the triumphs and the trials that lie ahead, you will feel just as you do now – happy to be in love and married to one another. Go then, in peace, and live more and more in the present, which is beautiful and stretches away beyond the limits of the past and towards the horizons of the future.
Breaking of the glass explaination: Rabbi Sara
The breaking of the glass is a time honored tradition in the Jewish Faith. Breaking of the glass is a reminder of the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem but there are also many other symbolic meaning to this ritual, today we envision the breaking of the glass as the shattering of your old lives, your individual path, to start a new path together, a new beginning!!
“For those of you witnessing this for the first time it is appropriate to clap, yell, or shout Mazal Tov!, when the glass is broken.”
Priestly blessing: Rev Deb and Rabbi Sara
יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
May the Lord Bless you and guide you
יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
May the Lord shine his face upon you and be gracious to you
יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ
וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם
May the Lord lift up his face to you and give to you peace.
Pronouncement of Marriage: Rev Deb
Because, Chris and Edy, you have showered our hearts with expressions of your love, and promised each other the joy of all your days, it gives me great honor and pleasure to now pronounce you husband and wife.
Breaking of Glass
As the kiss is the messenger of the heart and soul, allow your souls to meet on your lips with this kiss.