Skip to main content

A very special wedding in Washington DC


Alan and Michael, it is with such joy that we stand here beneath this Huppah, celebrating your joining together.  It’s a joy, of course, for the two of you.  It’s a joy for your family and friends and community gathered here today.  It’s a joy for me as your rabbi who loves you both a lot.  And I want to add that this moment is also a very special joy for Adas Israel Congregation, and for all the Jewish people.  This is the first official gay wedding  in the 143-year history of this congregation!  This congregation was visited by President Ulysses S. Grant at its opening.  Golda Meir made an official visit.  Yitzhak Rabin had his child’s bar mitzvah here.  The Reverend Dr. Martin Luthor King jr.  came  here.  And now to that auspicious list, we can add that Alan and Michael were married here! 
I really mean it:  this is a great moment for the Jewish people.  And it's all the sweeter because of who each of you are.  The two of you are just about the nicest, kindest guys anyone will ever meet.  You're not actually standing here because your only thought is to make a statement.  You're standing here because you're two human beings who love each other with all their hearts.  You're two human beings who, when you first met, had your very first conversation about kindness and caring and thoughtfulness and gentleness--and how important it is to each of you to find those qualities in a life-partner.  You're standing here at this moment not because your intention is to make waves; you're only here because you're bashert--meant to be--for one another.  And where else to get married, but  in your shul where you daven!  Alan, your Jewish journey has been a lifetime journey of commitment and faithfulness.  Michael, your Jewish journey has also been one of many years, one that you chose, with love, to commit your life to.
   And so the real reason you're here is your shared yearning for commitment, for kindness, for faithfulness to each other, to your heritage, your people.  How else can you affirm that love, that sacredness, that holiness, then in this sacred dwelling space we call a Huppah right here in shul.
 It's very fitting  that we celebrate this moment as we begin Vayikra, the book of Leviticus in the Torah.  As we ended the book of Exodus, the first great Huppah, the Mishkan, the tent of God's dwelling love, was completed--and it was completed by the loving hands of all the Israelites--by everyone of all ages, of all walks of life, of all orientations--everyone had a role in creating that tent of holiness, as you create that sacred Place of Holiness for each other and for the Jewish people right here and now. 
There's a poignant moment, as the Mishkan is completed.  The clouds of God's glory descend upon the sacred tent.  And Moses, ever the humble and unassuming man, was afraid to enter the tent.  And so as we begin Leviticus this week, it opens with the word "Vayikra," which means that God literally "called" out to Moses, saying in essence, 'Yes Moses, come into this tent.  You are indeed worthy of being right here, in this most sacred place, together with me in my loving presence.' 
Alan and Michael, at this moment, we are all beholding two of the kindest, most unassuming men in the world, not unlike Moses himself.  And through all of our hearts, the voice of God calls to you--Vayikra--in just the same way, saying:  'Come forward to this Sacred Place, this Sacred Moment, because indeed you are not only worthy to be here, but there is no greater goodness, no greater holiness than for our people to welcome you here to this sacred place of Kiddushin, of sacred matrimony.'  And so Alan and Michael, we all truly say with all our hearts, Bruchim HaBaim, welcome.  Welcome home to your people, your God, and your tradition, and most importantly, to  each other.  Today, with so much pride, so much nachas, we declare your love to be sacred.  May your lifetime of joy together as loving companions continue to be a blessing and an inspiration to us all for many years to come in happiness and good health.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The New Idolatry

I want to tell  you a story about a long-time friend of my parents.  I will refer to him as Joe.  They have known each other for many decades.  Practically grew up together.  He’s in his eighties now.  He has survived lots of health crises, including many years of respiratory problems, Type 2 Diabetes, and triple bypass surgery.  Several years ago, my family was visiting with his family.  We had a wonderful time all together.  We ate  out at different restaurants a few times. And Joe loved a good meal.  Time and again, he ordered truly, decadent meals:  grilled cheese done to perfection for lunch. Deep fried chicken for dinner.  Lasagna another night.  For breakfast he ordered gooey cinnamon buns heaping with cream-cheese icing.  And when he got the most amazing donuts for us all, and then ate half the box, followed later by cheese fries, I finally felt the need to say something to good old Joe.

“Hey, Joe,” I said.  “I really hope I’m not out of line here, but you know all these wonder…

The Importance of Keruv

I would like to teach us all a very important value in Jewish life known as Keruv.Keruv literally means ‘to bring close,’ ‘to draw near.’Throughout our history, the word “keruv” has meant the endeavor to bring close all those among are people who are, for whatever reason, feeling far away from the community.Keruv is a beautiful Jewish value that is all about welcoming.It’s the heart and soul of what has sustained us as a community for generations.The Jewish value of Keruv goes a long way back in Judaism. It seems that many of the great biblical figures were also especially concerned with Keruv. And their lives and stories teach us much about how to draw other people Karov, close to Judaism.
There was Aharon, the High Priest, the brother of Moses, for example. Our tradition tells us that he just had a magnificent talent for Keruv. When the Mishnah talks about Aharon, it says that he was Ohev Shalom v’Rodef Shalom, Oheiv et haBriot, umekarvan latorah: that he loved peace and pursued peac…

The Deadliest Poison: When Anti-Semitism Infects Liberalism

This past summer, the national Black Lives Matter movement released an official platform outlining several of its policy proposals in its efforts to end the war on black people in this country.  Among its proposals, it used the platform as an opportunity to attack Israel, calling it an “apartheid state.” The platform also stated “The US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people.”  Last January, at the annual National Gay and Lesbian Creating Change Conference in Chicago, a pro-Israel reception was initially shut down by the conference organizers, bowing to pressure from anti-Israel groups.  When the reception eventually got the green light, their event was stormed by an angry mob trying to shut down the Jewish and Israeli event following their Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat services.  Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, the rabbi of the LGBT congregation Beit Simchat Torah in NY, and an …