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.