Masorti Judaism

Getting married

Mazal Tov on your engagement!

All our synagogues hold marriage licences and our weddings are carried out in accordance with halacha (Jewish law). If you would like a Masorti rabbi to officiate at your wedding, whether in synagogue or at another venue, please contact your local community. If you are not a member of a synagogue, click here to contact the Masorti Judaism office. It’s best to do this quickly, as dates are booked well in advance.

Planning a kosher wedding? You may also like to find out about our one day licenses for caterers.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What is the difference between a Masorti wedding and an Orthodox wedding? How different will it look in terms of the ceremony and the Ketubah ? Is it a ‘kosher’ wedding?

Most wedding ceremonies in the Masorti movement follow traditional patterns. The couple stand under the Huppah (marriage canopy), traditional blessings are recited, a ring is given, a glass is broken at the end. In addition to these basic legal requirements, there is room within a traditional wedding for innovation. As a result, there are a range of practices that can be found in Masorti synagogues. Some of the more common options are use of a ketubah (marriage contract) with an egalitarian text, ceremonies in which both the bride and groom give each other a ring, weddings conducted by female rabbis and chazanim, and introducing additional readings during the ceremony. Nowadays, some couples opt for alternative, non-traditional wedding ceremonies – please contact your rabbi for more information.

Q. How will getting married Masorti affect the Jewish status of our children? Specifically, how will it affect their school admissions, shul membership and marriage options?

There is no connection between the auspices under which a persons marries and Jewish status. It is a basic principle of Jewish law that a child inherits its status from its mother. If a mother is Jewish than her children are Jewish regardless of where she was married. Some Orthodox synagogues will not accept a non-Orthodox ketubah as proof of Jewish status. Practically speaking, this means that if you are married in a Masorti synagogue, you may need to bring alternative proof of your Jewish status if you wish to join an Orthodox community. In most cases, this simply means keeping a copy of the brides parent’s Ketubah to hand and submitting it together with the membership application.  In the UK it is illegal for schools to ask for proof of applicants’ Jewish status.

Q. I have heard of couples who have both a Masorti and Orthodox ceremony, one after the other. Is that acceptable in the Masorti movement?

After the wedding, a couple is legally married and cannot marry a second time. To conduct a second ceremony means reciting unnecessary blessings – which is forbidden in Jewish law. Therefore, if a couple has undergone an Orthodox wedding they will not be able to have a subsequent Masorti ceremony. There are cases where Orthodox rabbis ask couples to have a second, Orthodox ceremony after a Masorti wedding. This is a dubious practice which should be discouraged.

Q. Will a Masorti rabbi officiate at a mixed-faith marriage or ceremony?

No. We will only conduct a wedding if both partners are halachically Jewish.

Q. Will a Masorti rabbi officiate at a same-sex wedding?

Some Masorti rabbis conduct same sex weddings (although typically not kiddushin, the traditional form of betrothal used in marriages between men and women) and others are happy to officiate same sex commitment ceremonies which mark a couple’s commitment to each other while stopping short of marriage.  Please contact us for details of rabbis who can conduct your same-sex ceremony.

Q. What active role can women take in a Masorti wedding?

Women can take on a range of roles in a Masorti wedding. The wedding may be conducted by a female rabbi or chazan. The bride may sign the ketubah and give her husband a ring, and female friends may actively participate in the ceremony. Our ceremonies range from fully traditional to completely egalitarian.

Q. I am worried about the situation with agunot (women who are prevented from remarrying because their husbands refuse them a religious divorce). How can Masorti marriage help prevent this?

We are committed to preventing agunot in our communities. The European Masorti Bet Din is responsible for divorce proceedings in the movement and will look into any potential case of iggun and work to solve the problem. We are best able to do this where the couple have been married in the Masorti movement. This means that those who have had a Masorti wedding are unlikely to find themselves in this distressing situation.

Q. If the marriage ends in divorce, will I need an Orthodox get (religious divorce), or will divorce proceedings be handled by the Masorti movement?

The European Masorti Bet Din issues gitin and deals with all questions of divorce in the movement. A couple may go to either an Orthodox or Masorti Bet Din for their divorce. There are many considerations when choosing which Bet Din to use – questions of status, where the original wedding took place and future plans for marriage are all relevant. You should consult with your rabbi before choosing where to go for a divorce.

Q. If I have lived with my partner before getting married, can I still get married through the Masorti movement?

Yes. We will be happy to enable for you to sanctify your relationship in a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony. 

Q. I would like a woman to officiate at our wedding. Are there any Masorti women rabbis in the UK who can take on this role?

Absolutely. We have both traditional and egalitarian communities. There are both female rabbis and chazanim in the movement who would be happy to officiate at your wedding.

For more information on getting married please contact your local community or the Masorti Judaism office:

020 8349 6650

enquiries@masorti.org.uk

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