We did a interfaith symbolic ceremony!
We have gathered together in this place to witness and experience one of lifeâ€™s most precious moments. Benjamin Washington and Laura Goldstein have invited us to share in the celebration of their love as they commit themselves to each other in marriage. Being assured of your love as life companions, and that you have your familiesâ€™ blessings, I now ask, â€œWho gives this woman to be married to this man?â€
Dad: â€œHer mom and I do.â€
This beautiful setting should remind us that, like the ocean, human life is an ebb and flow- the life of the spirit and emotions- moves in cycles. To be in a relationship does not guarantee an eternal summer. To make a sincere and honest commitment does not promise an end to all struggles. What a good relationship does offer, much like this ocean, is the opportunity for renewal. It recognizes the abiding, shared hope that after every fall and winter, spring and summer will come again.
The fact that each of you has travelled such a great distance to be here today is a testament to the amazing amount of love and support they have. Many of you have given them much happiness, warmth, and guidance through the various stages of their lives. They would like to sincerely thank you all for being here to celebrate their big day. A very special and respectful acknowledgement must also be made to celebrate our loved ones who have passed on, and who are unable to be here today, yet their spirit remains very much so alive and strong in our hearts. PAUSE.
Every marriage ceremony is unique, and today, not only are two special people being joined together, but two faiths, as well. From two different and distinct traditions, they have come together to learn the best of what each has to offer, appreciating their difference, and confirming that being together is far better than being apart from each other. May your life together be a witness to others that people can live together in peace in spite of differences? Your marriage then becomes a sign, a very precious sign, that nothing is stronger than love. The Bible says, â€œLove bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. So faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.â€
We are surrounded by a beautiful chuppah. The chuppah represents the home. Its four poles symbolize the four pillars upon which a strong marriage is built: family, friendship, love and respect. A shelter that is open on all sides we see an invitation and a sign of welcome to those we love. The chuppah's delicate structure reminds those beneath it, that the only thing real about a home is the people in it, who love and who choose to be together as a family.
Ben and Laura have chosen a reading from the Book of Ruth 1: 16-18
Wherever you go, I will go.
Wherever you live, I will live.
Your people will be my people.
Your God will be my God too.
Wherever you die I will die.
And there I shall be buried beside you.
We shall be together forever.
And our love will be the gift of our life
Ben and Laura, would you please face each other and join your hands.
Ben, as I say these words, would you please repeat after meâ€¦
I love you, Laura. You are my best friend. Today I give myself to you in marriage. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle.
I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple, and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you, and to always hold you in highest regard. These things I give to you today, and all the days of our life. I am forever yoursâ€¦â€¦faithfully.
Laura, as I say these words, would you please repeat after meâ€¦
I love you, Ben; you too are my best friend. Today I give myself to you in marriage. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle. I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple, and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you, and to always hold you in highest regard. These things I give to you today, and all the days of our life. I am forever yoursâ€¦â€¦faithfully.
â€œMay I have the ringsâ€
Laura & Ben, your rings are intimately associated with your intent to honor and treasure the vows you have made today. By exchanging rings, resolve to live your vows and not to let them drift in shallow promises. Believe and trust that the words you have spoken have the capacity to create the marriage, family and life of your dreams, and that the rings you exchange will have the power to return you to your vows.
These rings mark the beginning of a long journey together, wear them proudly, as they are symbols which speak of love that you have for each otherâ€¦.
Ben as you place this ring on Lauraâ€™s finger please repeat after meâ€¦
Laura, I give you this ring, as a sign of our marriage, and a lasting reminder, of the vows made between us today. I give you this ring, as a reminder that I will love, honor, and cherish you, in all times, in all places, and in all ways, forever.
Laura, if you accept please say I doâ€¦
Laura as you place this ring on Benâ€™s finger please repeat after meâ€¦
Ben, I give you this ring, as a sign of our marriage, and a lasting reminder, of the vows made between us today. I give you this ring, as a reminder that I will love, honor, and cherish you, in all times, in all places, and in all ways, forever.
Ben, if you accept please say I doâ€¦
ADDRESSING THE AUDIENCE: Family and friends, are you willing to sustain the strength of this marriage by giving Laura & Ben the public commitment of your love and support, through all of the ups and downs they will encounter on their journey. If you are willing, please respond now by saying, â€œwe areâ€.
Laura & Ben, before the two of you met, your lives were on separate roads, each going in different directions and seemingly leading to different destinations. But, somewhere along the way, through some twist of fate, you did meet, and you fell in love. Today, you find yourselves standing here together at the threshold of a new path, as you promise to forever join your once separate lives into one.
To symbolize this union and the importance of the individuals within the marriage, two separate colors of sand will be combined. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole. However, when these two are blended together, they create an entirely new and extraordinary more intricate entity. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination. Please pour the sand into this common container to symbolize the union of your two lives.
The couple has chosen Harry Hotimsky, the uncle to the bride, to join us and recite the Traditional Seven Blessings.
The Seven Blessings ~
"Seven is the most frequently used number in the Bible. It took seven days to
form the earth, leaving the number seven to mark for us the path to creation.
Since every marriage is celebrated as a new creation, It is customary in Jewish
tradition that the bride and groom are bestowed with seven blessings. These
blessings represent Ben and Lauraâ€™s hopes for the future.
Blessings are given over wine
1. Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohainu Melech HaOlam, SheHakol Borah Lichvodo.
Blessed are You, G-d, our L-rd, King of the universe, Who has created everything for His glory.
2. Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohainu Melech HaOlam, Yotzer Ha'Adam
Blessed are You, G-d, our L-rd, King of the universe, Who fashioned the Man.
3. Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohainu Melech HaOlam, Asher Yatzar Et Ha'Adam Betzalmo, b'Tzelem Dmut Tavnito, VeHitkon Lo Mimenu Binyan Adei Ad. Baruch Ata Adonai Yotzer Ha'Adam
Blessed are You, G-d, our L-rd, King of the universe, Who fashioned the Man in His image, in the image of his likeness and prepared for him from himself a building for eternity. Blessed are You G-d, Who fashioned the man.
4. Sos Tasis VeTagel HaAkarah, BeKibbutz Bane'ha Letocha BeSimchaa. Baruch Ata Adonai, Mesame'ach Tzion BeVaneha
Bring intense joy and exultation to the barren one through the ingathering of her children amidst her in gladness. Blessed are You, G-d, Who gladdens Zion with her children.
5. Sameach TeSamach Re'im Ahuvim, KeSamechacha Yetzircha BeGan Eden MiKedem. Baruch Ata Adonai, MeSame'ach Chatan VeKalah
Gladden the beloved companions as You gladdened Your creatons in the garden of Eden from the earliest time. Blessed are You, G-d, Who gladdens groom and bride.
6. Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohainu Melech HaOlam, Asher Barah Sasson VeSimcha, Chatan VeKalah, Gila Rina, Ditza VeChedva, Ahava VeAchava, VeShalom VeRe'ut. MeHera Adonai Eloheinu Yishama BeArei Yehudah U'Vchutzot Yerushalayim, Kol Sasson V'eKol Simcha, Kol Chatan V'eKol Kalah, Kol Mitzhalot Chatanim MeChupatam, U'Nearim Mimishte Neginatam. Baruch Ata Adonai, MeSame'ach Chatan Im Hakalah.
Blessed are You, G-d, our L-rd, King of the universe, Who created joy and gladness, groom and bride, mirth, glad song, pleasure, delight, love, brotherhood, peace, and companionship. G-d, our L-rd, let there soon be heard in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the grooms' joy from their canopies and of the youths from their song-filled feasts. Blessed are You G-d Who gladdens the groom with the bride.
7. Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohainu Melech HaOlam, Boreh Pri HaGafen.
Blessed are You, G-d, our L-rd, the King of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine.
As you have shared this cup of wine, so may you, under God's guidance share
contentment, peace and fulfillment from the cup of life. May you find life's
joys heightened, its bitterness sweetened, and each of its moments hallowed by
true companionship and love.â€
In this Let us bow our heads in prayer for a moment.
ADDRESS THE AUDIENCE: â€œPlease join us in reciting The Lordâ€™s Prayer
~ Breaking of the Glass and Pronouncement ~
"The traditional breaking of the glass which marks the end of the ceremony, is a
reminder of both the strength and the fragility of the spiritual bond that is
marriage. It is a reminder to appreciate all that we have now, to embrace
change, and to always hold the important things in life above all else. Samantha
and Martin may your marriage last longer than it would take for all the broken
pieces to reassemble themselves, and may all of your troubles be as easily
shattered. As the glass is broken, I invite everyone to shout "Mazal Tov," which
means "congratulations and good luck."
Glass wrapped in cloth, is placed on the floor
The Bible says, "Love bears all things,
believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. So faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
but remember that the greatest of these is love."
May God bless you and keep you in this wisdom
for all the days of your togetherness.
You are now as your hearts have always known you to be, Husband and Wife.
You may kiss your beautiful Bride!"
Groom steps on glass breaking it., couple kiss everyone claps,
EVERYONE: "Mazel Tov!"