Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back on the hunt

During all the dress and cake excitement, I didn't get a chance to tell you about what happened with our officiant. Well, my dears, I am learning the fine art of compromise.

See, my post on the rabbi "acquisition," shall we say, was so short because even though we both agreed that we really liked the guy, D could not get past the idea that it was a rabbi doing our wedding and not some non-denominational minister of some sort. It was a tense negotiation between us (and apparently not a final one!).

Major life cycle events—weddings, births, deaths—are funny in a way: they trick you into believing that you are a religious person, even when you've been anything but for nearly fifteen years. I wouldn't call myself an athiest anymore (and a lot of people never would have called me one; I was more indifferent than actively non-believing), but to start to call myself Jewish again would be somewhat misleading. Am I culturally Jewish? Absolutely; it is how I define myself. Am I a practicing Jew, or will I ever be again? Not anymore, and almost definitely not ever again. So why was it, exactly, that I wanted a rabbi to perform a Jewish wedding...?

My friends, I can't answer that one for you. I can only tell you that, in response, D suddenly wanted a Catholic wedding. D, who has never been a practicing Catholic in his whole life, who has been to mass maybe two or three times ever, wanted a priest to co-officiate, and to incorporate as much Catholicism into our wedding as he could outside of a church.

Um. Problematic.

I could go into the differences between Judaism as an orthopraxic religion and Catholicism as orthodoxic, but really the major, MAJOR problem is that you can have a wedding with a lot of Jewish signifiers—drinking wine, breaking glasses—that are not actually religiously meaningful. Non-Jews are not excluded. But a Catholic wedding? Is a Catholic wedding. And everything that is uniquely Catholic pretty much excludes the Jewish and Muslim portions of our guest list (and the BRIDE. HELLO, I am kind of important here!). It just wasn't going to work.

We had quite the row over it, let me tell you. Well, let me not tell you, because we were both really angry and hurt and said some mean things. But when we cooled down, we were able to agree on one thing: let's skip the rabbi and go back to the secular ceremony we'd originally wanted. I could keep my (secular) ketubah and my broken glass, and he could have his hippie-nature lover readings (which suit him better than religious ones, anyway). We'd have a wedding that reflects us not only now and on our wedding day, but two months after our wedding and for the majority of our lives.

Now if only we could find the officiant who could do that for us...

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