Welcome to our Wedding and Renewal Page. To read general information on Humanistic Jewish Life Cycle Events, click here.
Let us help you prepare for your marriage and celebrate your wedding or renewal of vows with your family and friends. For details scroll down or click on any of the items listed below.
Humanistic Jews believe that the purpose of marriage is to create a partnership with a person one loves and respects that will enhance each person’s ability to grow, become self-actualized, meet their needs, and fulfill their goals. A life partner can also add fun, pleasure, excitement, security, stability and happiness.
When couples want to mark and declare their commitment to marriage in the presence of their family or friends, and they want to legalize this commitment, they need our services. When couples want to include aspects of the Jewish heritage in their celebration, Humanistic Rabbis believe we have an ethical obligation to meet this need, provided the ceremony is consistent with our beliefs and values. We therefore support all freely chosen marriages between two people who are of legal age, regardless of their cultures, genders, religions, or races and are happy to officiate at the wedding or commitment ceremony. For legally divorced Jews, since a Get (Jewish Divorce) is not an egalitarian process, it is not required in order to remarry.
Oraynu’s leadership has always been in the forefront of advocating for the legalization of same-sex marriage and for the acceptance of intermarriage in the Jewish community.
Humanistic Jews believe that we are responsible for our own lives and our world, independent of any supernatural authority or intervention. Also, our actions are based on the values of gender equality and mutual respect among ethnic and religious groups and races. Because Humanistic rabbis believe that our words and rituals must be consistent with our philosophy, we do not mention God or include any theistic blessings, worship or prayer. The ceremonies are egalitarian so participatory rituals are performed by both the bride and the groom.
- Humanistic Jewish (both partners Jewish)
- Interfaith/Intercultural (one partner Jewish, other a different religion/culture)
- Co-officiated with other ordained Clergy
- Secular Humanistic (neither partners is Jewish but want non-religious/humanistic wedding)
- Heterosexual couple
- LGBTQ couple
- Inter-racial couple
- Commitment or Union Ceremonies (where same sex marriages not yet legal)
- Legally divorced Jew who does not have a Get (Jewish divorce)
- Custom Ceremony at location of your choice includes:
- meet with rabbi
- choose participants and any optional humanistic rites and readings from Jewish and other cultural traditions
- review and approve script of ceremony prior to event
- Humanistic Jewish ketubah
- Standard Ceremony at location of your choice includes:
- choose optional canopy, breaking of glass and personal vows
- shorter pre-written ceremony
- Legalization only without ceremony at location of your choice
- Legalization only without ceremony at the rabbi’s office
Ceremonies are always beautiful and meaningful and may reflect the couple’s varying cultures and personalities.
The cost for each ceremony choice differs. Our in town weddings generally include Toronto, Markham, Vaughan and Richmond Hill. Out of town surcharges will depend on the distance the rabbis have to travel to the event location. Call us for specific costs.
- Breaking Bread Together
- Breaking Glass/es /Tile/Plate
- Calling in the Directions/Elements
- Candle Lighting – Humanistic Unity Candle
- Chupah/canopy/arch/wedding bower/gazebo/mandap
- Crowning (Double)
- Hand Binding/Fasting
- Hebrew, Yiddish and other Languages
- Jumping over the Broom
- Ketubah/Marriage Covenant Signing
- Participation of Family and Friends
- Releasing of Doves/butterflies
- Rings or other Tokens of Commitment Exchange
- Sand mixing
- Septapadi/Seven Steps around Nuptial Fire
- Seven Blessings/Sheva Brakhot
- Signing of Legals and Ketubah/Covenant of Marriage (link to page with both of our ketubahs)
- Vows (Repeated and/or Personal)
- Wine Sharing
We do not consider the ketubah a ‘legal’ document and signing one is optional. Because Humanistic Jewish leaders will only sign a ketubah whose words and symbols are consistent with our philosophy, they created a Jewish and an intercultural ketubah text. The ketubah can be signed along with the marriage licence just before or during the ceremony by the couple, the rabbi and two witnesses. You are welcome to sign your name in English and/or in Hebrew. You can choose to sign the ketubah printed on decorative paper provided by the rabbi or yourself at no cost, or you can order a beautiful art ketubah from www.ketubah.com or www.mpartworks.com. To see the Humanistic Ketubahs click here. (link to the two ketubahs)
The wedding location is neutral—not in a house of worship of any denomination so neither family feels left out or secondary
Nothing sexist is incorporated in the ceremony in words, symbols or rituals
There is no mass in a Roman Catholic co-officiation
There is no communal worship
The other clergy may use neutral, but not religion-specific or sexist names for God in the ceremony and the focus of the ceremony is to remain on the couple and the marriage and not on the deity
The ceremony accents the coming together and celebration of the two faiths/cultures, not their divergence
Everything to be said at the ceremony by either clergy is included in a written script
Leading the ceremony is equally shared by both clergy
Co-officiated weddings are always custom ceremonies. Our rabbis draft the written ceremony based on discussions with the couple as to what is to be included and how the ceremony is to be divided between the clergy. The other clergy may send their proposed wording for their parts, or the rabbi will prepare the entire ceremony and the other clergy may then edit their parts to ensure they are comfortable saying them.
Click Intermarriage to read details of our Movement positions on marriage, intermarriage, and co-officiation.
We want to serve your needs by creating a wedding ceremony that enhances your special day of celebration and will be talked about for years after as the most personal, moving and meaningful ceremony your family and friends have ever attended. Let our rabbis’ sensitivity, creativity and experience go to work for you.
For more information and costs or to book a date for your event, please contact our Life Cycle Director, Rabbi Eva Goldfinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-494-7450.