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Q & A

Q1: Can any person marry in Israel?

"Conversion Community Law" defines who can marry and divorce in Israel. Citizens of Israel do not have a choice in marriage. By law, Jews can only marry other Orthodox rabbinate. Muslims can only marry Muslims and Christians to marry Christians, under the laws of each of the religions. In Israel there are many problems and troubled concerning marriage like in "Cohen and a divorcee" situation or the status of "forbidden for her husband and raised" or "illegitimacy" and so on.

q2: Is it possible to have a ceremony between a Jew according to Halacha (Jewish by the mother) and a person that is Jewish from father his father's side?

Unfortunately, Israel does not have that possibility. However, the couple can get married by combining two complementary actions that bypass this problem.

  1. Existence of the couple's civil wedding abroad. According to court rulings allowing the couple to be considered in terms of law and Family Court as married for all the obligations and rights involved, like any other married a citizen of Israel.
  2. At the same time of conducting the civil ceremony, the couple should hold a ceremony under the canopy and use the services of a ceremony editor or a Reform rabbi that agrees to conduct such a ceremony (the majority of Reform rabbis in Israel do not conduct a ceremony of this kind and yet there are a few Reform rabbis, including myself, that do, since we are working on the custom of the Reform movement in the U.S. ( CCAR ) which allows the existence of such rituals for reasons of equality).


q3: Can a Cohen and a divorcee marry with us?

According to Jewish law it is forbidding for a Cohen to marry a divorcee. However, Although Cohen is prohibited in the first place; it is valid and applies retroactively.

This special status allowed the High Court of Justice to recognize such couples as married, despite the objections of rabbinic courts, after having married in a private marriage ceremony. The High Court ordered the Interior Ministry to register the couple as married; otherwise they have no other legal ways to marry in Israel. This example shows the High Court ruling 51/69 Elkanah Rudnicki against the High Rabbinical Court.



q4:  Does the Rabbi conduct traditional wedding ceremonies "like the rabbinate" for couples who are interested?

obligations and rights as a married couple on the basis of civil marriage.

The ceremony that I make is determined in cooperation between the rabbi and the couple whom I marry. It is certainly possible to hold traditional ceremonies that are "like the rabbinate." Although in any case it must be remembered that this ceremony doesn't give the rights of a married person in Israel because Israel does not legalize marriage that are not held by the Registrar of marriages licensed by the rabbinate and the state.

In addition to the ceremony the rabbi conducts, whether fully traditional or liberal the couple should also have a civil wedding abroad. The State of Israel will recognize the couple as married only if civil marriage ritual took place under the laws of the state the ceremony was held at, and after that - the couple should present the Interior Ministry official document from a state that indicates that.

q5:  Can a couple in which both sides are Jewish by their father's side marry in a ceremony conducted by the rabbi?

Following pressure from the party "Israel Our Home", a compromise was created in situation in which both spouses are not Jewish according to halacha. These couples can marry in a civil ceremony in a Justice Department without the need to travel abroad.
At the same time, both partners will be able to hold a ceremony with the rabbi. This ceremony can meet the religious and social needs of the couple and complete the process mentioned above.