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FAQ: The Event

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Is this really a wedding?

Yes, it’s a real wedding – actually, a triple wedding! And Washington Hebrew Congregation (WHC) and Adas Israel Congregation invite you to bear witness and celebrate.

Three Weddings?

Yes! WHC and Adas Israel, in partnership with the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel, are bringing three Israeli couples to Washington, D.C. to be married in WHC’s historic sanctuary on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. In December 2017, the IRAC held a similar event in New York City.

Should I bring a gift?

Your signature on this Statement and your presence – either in person or via livestream – is all the gift we could ever dream of. That said, we welcome all additional support to help with this event. Click here to see how you can make a difference.

What should I wear?

Given that it’s a Tuesday evening and our couples are Israeli, feel free to wear what you feel is most comfortable. From jeans to gowns, we welcome everything and imagine that the majority of our guests will be in business casual (this is Washington, D.C., after all).

Why are these couples coming to D.C. to get married?

Freedom of choice in marriage is something that most of us take entirely for granted. In Israel, however, marriage is controlled completely by the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate, which maintains a monopoly on State-sanctioned Jewish religious life-cycle events. As a result, Reform, Conservative, civil, interfaith, same-sex, and many other marriages performed in Israel are not recognized as legal. Couples who wish to marry outside the authority of the Chief Rabbinate – by choice or by prohibition – must go abroad to do so.

In Washington, D.C., these couples can marry the person they love in traditional Jewish ceremonies that are welcoming, inclusive, and affirms their multiple identities. When they return home, the State of Israel will legally recognize their marriage.

Who are they?

The couples are Ilia & Sahar, Anat & Shmuel, and Micha & Yeshai. Learn more about them here.

I heard they are already married. Are they?

Not legally. 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.

What’s the “Statement”?

It’s a petition that you can sign in person on the 26th or online digitally.

It calls on the Israeli government to recognize Reform, Conservative, and civil weddings.

In Israel, all Jewish marriages must be performed by the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate in order to be legally recognized. However, the Rabbinate has pretty rigid controls of who can and cannot be married, which doesn’t fit with its democratic values or nature. Our Statement asks the Israeli government to fully recognize the right of all Israeli citizens to marry according to their conscience and religious choice.

Will the event make a difference?

We think so. Not only will we give these three couples a meaningful, legally-recognized, festive Jewish wedding, we will also bring attention to this important issue.

Synagogues from around the country, Jewish organizations, and human rights groups from around the country are getting involved. The Israeli media is paying attention. WHC and Adas are raising awareness through partnerships and communication. We are connecting the American Jewish community and progressive Israeli community, and individuals throughout the world who care about this issue. Through our petition, we intend to make our voices heard in the upcoming Israeli elections, taking place on April 9, 2019

I want to attend!

RSVP and join us at Washington Hebrew Congregation on Tuesday, March 26. You’ll celebrate three wonderful couples and add your signature to our Statement for Israel’s Prime Minister.

p.s. It’s a joyous celebration, and we encourage you to bring your friends and family!

Are there options for people who can’t attend ...

Absolutely! Click here to:

  • Sign our online petition to demonstrate your support for freedom of choice in marriage in Israel and/or make a donation.
  • Attend virtually through WHC’s live stream feed.
  • Host a viewing party! Gather your friends, family, fellow congregants, and some cake and champagne, and attend virtually through WHC’s live stream feed.
  • Make a donation: As many of us know from experience, weddings can be costly (flights to America for the couples, wedding dresses and tuxedos, a reception for several hundred people, and more). Donations of any size are most welcome. Click here to learn more.