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Three Weddings and a Statement

We love Israel and support equal rights for all to love and marry in Israel.

However, the State of Israel does not recognize marriages performed outside the sanctioned religious authorities (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druze). Interfaith and same-sex marriages are illegal in Israel. If you are Jewish, the only way to be legally married is in an Orthodox ceremony performed by an Orthodox rabbi. Interestingly, if a couple could not be legally married in Israel and goes abroad to do so, the State of Israel will recognize their marriage upon their return.

The "Weddings"

With great joy and meaning, Washington Hebrew Congregation and Adas Israel Congregation invite you to a very special event welcoming three couples into the covenant of marriage.

These couples could not or would not legally marry in Israel under the auspices of the ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate for three very different reasons: one is a transgender, gay couple; the second couple has one partner that Israel’s Chief Rabbinate does not consider to be Jewish; the third couple rejects the Rabbinate’s rigid control over Jewish marriage.

They would have preferred to marry in their home country. In fact, each has already had a wedding ceremony in Israel, but the government will not recognize their marriages. Much like “commitment ceremonies” that same-sex couples had in the United States before the Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage, the three couples are married only in their hearts.

Please join us!

Tuesday, March 26

6:30 pm at Washington Hebrew Congregation
3935 Macomb Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia

The three marriage ceremonies will be followed by a "triple-ly joyous" wedding reception for all attendees.

Whether local or long distance, you can join us for this celebration of love!

Please click here to RSVP to attend in person or register for our live stream.


Three Weddings and a Statement is presented jointly by Washington Hebrew Congregation and Adas Israel Congregation in partnership with the Israel Religious Action Center, the Union for Reform Judaism, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel.

David Astrove and Mindy Strelitz, Co-Chairs, Washington Hebrew Congregation
Toni Bickart and Arnie Podgorsky, Co-Chairs, Adas Israel Congregation

The "Statement"

This statement will be sent to the Prime Minister of Israel following their legislative election on April 9, 2019.

To the Prime Minister of Israel

There are 800,000 Israelis who are denied the basic right to marry. The current law requiring all Jewish marriages to go through the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate discriminates against women, converts, and non-Orthodox Jews and does not fit with Israel’s democratic values or nature.

Previous Israeli governments have denied freedom of choice in marriage, which has alienated many of Israel’s citizens. The new Israeli government has an opportunity to amend this historic injustice. We urge you, as you form a new government, to ensure that:

  • All citizens of the State of Israel be permitted to legally marry in their country according to their conscience and religious choice.
  • Weddings performed by Israeli Reform and Conservative Rabbis be recognized by the State as a basic commitment to democracy and equality.
  • The State of Israel ends the ultra-Orthodox monopoly on issues of “Personal Status.”
  • That all citizens of the State of Israel be granted the right to marry in a civil ceremony, outside of a religious framework.

We show our support for these principles by standing together with Sahar Malka and Ilia Rabkin, Shmuel Carmel and Anat Ornik, and Yeshai Moskovitch and Micha Yehudi. They are three Israeli couples who could not or would not marry in Israel under the auspices of the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate for three different reasons: a conversion that is not recognized in Israel, the rejection of the Rabbinate’s rigid control over Jewish marriage, and sexual orientation. We supported them as they stood under the chuppah and were married in Washington, D.C., and we share in the joy and blessing of the Jewish families they will build in Israel.

We urge you to promote equality for all Israelis in marriage and divorce, and we are eager to partner with and support you in that effort.  

Meet the Couples

Get to know the three wonderful couples who will be married at Washington Hebrew Congregation on March 26.

Ilia and Sahar  
Ilia and Sahar
Micha and Yeshai  
Micha and Yeshai
Anat and Shmuel  
Anat and Shmuel

Sponsorships and Support

Whether in person or from afar, you can support love and the right to choose how one marries in Israel by becoming a sponsor or partner of "Three Weddings and a Statement."

Businesses  
Businesses
Organizations  
Organizations
Synagogues  
Synagogues
Individuals  
Individuals
Our Sponsors and Partners  
Our Sponsors and Partners

We are grateful for the following individuals, synagogues, organizations, and businesses who have joined us in support of equal rights for all to love and marry in Israel.*

Committee  
Committee

"Three Weddings and a Statement" would not be possible without the tireless, creative efforts of our volunteers. We are beyond grateful for your help.

RSVP and Live Stream

If you plan to join us in person or via our live stream — or would simply like to sign the Statement and show your support — please let us know.

Click on one of the boxes below to begin.

Individuals  
Individuals
Synagogues and Organizations  
Synagogues and Organizations

FAQs

Israeli Marriage in the Media

The issue of freedom of marriage in Israel has attracted significant media attention. Here are some recent articles. Check back, as we will continue to add links. 

The Times of Israel article, 2/5/19: "Up to a Third of Israeli Nuptials Held Outside State Religious Bodies"

Tablet Magazine article, 2/5/19: "Battling Israel's Marriage Monopoly"

The Forward article, 1/16/19: "I'm an Orthodox Woman, and the Rabbinate Barred Me From the Mikveh"

Haaretz editorial, 1/9/19: "The Time Has Come for Civil Marriage in Israel"

The Times of Israel blog post, 1/9/19: "Can Religious and Civil Marriage Coexist in Israel?"

Haaretz article, 7/19/18: "Israel Detains Conservative Rabbi for Performing non-Orthodox Weddings"

In the News