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Orthodox rabbi marries gay couple in historic wedding in DC [View All]

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King_David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 12:00 AM
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Orthodox rabbi marries gay couple in historic wedding in DC
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For the first time in history, Steve Greenberg, an openly-gay American rabbi ordained by the Orthodox movement, has officiated at a same-sex wedding ceremony.

On Thursday night at Washington DCs Historic 6th and I Synagogue, Greenberg stood under the chupah, a traditional Jewish wedding canopy, as newlyweds Yoni Bock and Ron Kaplan tied the knot before some two-hundred guests. Recognizing the unique and controversial moment, Greenbergs voice notably cracked when near the end he stated, By the power invested in me by the District of Columbia, I now pronounce you married.

Greenberg gained notoriety following his role in the 2001 documentary by an American filmmaker, Trembling Before G-d, which portrayed the conflicts of gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews trying to reconcile their religious convictions and sexual orientations. After the films successful release, Greenberg traveled with director Sandi Simcha Dubowski, screening the film globally. He was approached by Bock and Kaplan about a year ago and was asked to perform the ceremony, to which he agreed

The couple had dated since 2005. They agreed to get married in 2008 while on a bike ride, but wanted to wait until doing so was actually legal. A recent change in Washington DCs laws paved the way for them to do just that.

We were encouraged by the legislation of same-sex marriage in our home state of Washington, DC, Bock and Kaplan noted in the evenings program guide. At the same time, both of us wanted a ceremony that would be meaningful halachically (in terms of religious Jewish law) and create a set of Jewish legal obligations between us.

While a number of same-sex couples many of them Jewish have now married in US areas that recently legalized gay and lesbian unions, none were officiated by a rabbi who holds Orthodox ordination. The movement maintains a strict interpretation of Jewish law, including the biblical verse found in Leviticus 18 which refers to a man lying with another man as an abomination.

Greenberg assisted Bock and Kaplan in creating a ceremonial text that reflected the uniqueness of the event while incorporating the traditional elements of a Jewish wedding. Those familiar with the latter would have noticed an alteration in many of the texts, including the changing of genders for several of the pronouns. Harey at mekudeshet li, or Behold, you (female) are consecrated to me thus became Harey atah mkudash li, or Behold, you (male) are consecrated to me.
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