Reform Wedding at the Knesset Pt. 2
Editor's note: Read part one first!
Today there was a Reform wedding outside the Knesset. Lin and her new husband exchanged vows in a ceremony officiated by Rabbi Gilad Kariv and Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon. Friends, family, members of the Israeli Reform Movement and its youth group, rabbinical students, and five members of the Knesset (known as MKs) attended the wedding. The ceremony was beautiful and full of meaning for the couple and for all Jews in Israel who seek to end the ultra-Orthodox monopoly on religious life.
The Knesset members (four from the Labor party and one from Meretz) who attended all spoke about the need to end the status quo on marriage and divorce. Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Executive Director of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, commended the couple's courage to stand in front of the Knesset and declare that they should not be held captive by the Orthodox Rabbinate.
MK Mickey Rosenthal said that Judaism belongs to all of us and we won't let it be monopolized. MK Merav Michaeli spoke about how this new coalition agreement leads us all to ask who is a Jew? What is Judaism? What is the real role of a Jewish woman and who is really protecting her rights? Finally, MK Stav Shafir spoke about the new generation in Israeli politics not only talking about freedom but also acting on those demands. Words are not enough!
We all feel joy and excitement for the new couple as they embark on this new chapter of their lives together, but I am sure many of you are wondering if this wedding today "counts" as a real wedding. The simple answer is not yet. They exchanged vows, a medallion and an Israeli flag instead of rings, they were given the Sheva Brachot (seven blessings), and a glass was broken.
They said the proper declarations of commitment (hari ata/at mukudesh/et li... etc.) so, as far as Judaism is concerned they are married. However, as far as the Jewish State is concerned, they are two single people who woke up early and ate bagels outside the Knesset with their friends and family. They are not married in the eyes of the state.
IRAC is committed to changing the status quo on marriage and divorce. Let's welcome Israel's new Minister of the Interior, MK Gideon Sa`ar, to his new post by explaining to him how important this issue is to Jews all over the world. Just as we should all be able to choose who we marry, we should be able to choose how we marry. We all congratulate the new couple and we wish them a long and happy life. We also hope that soon all couples in Israel will be able to celebrate their unions in their own way in their own country.
Anat Hoffman is the executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center. She encourages you to email Minister Gideon Sa'ar asking him to support freedom of choice in marriage and divorce.