What are Intercultural marriages? By Rabbi Nardy Grün1
The usual terms used to coin a wedding of mixed cultures are: interfaith or intermarriage. The first term implies a wedding between to faiths, hence between two religions; as secular Jews we try to avoid using this term. More suitable is the latter term: intermarriage as it is a neutral term. But we would like to call it Intercultural marriages. We prefer the use of the world culture because we do not think that culture can be neutral, or neutralized. A person's culture is also his or hers national affiliation, sense of belonging, identity. One of the composites of each culture is religion. A union between two persons of different cultures is a new creation, but it can not be indifferent to each culture. Identities have to find their proper place in a union like this.
Intercultural marriages are between two persons, one belonging to the Jewish culture that decides to form a binding commitment with a person outside of the Jewish culture.
An Intercultural wedding ceremony In Israel can be held between:
1. Two Israeli citizens of different cultures or faiths
2. An Israeli citizen and a foreign non-Jewish citizen
3. Two foreign citizens, one of them Jewish.
Intercultural marriages assume that identities are not mutually disqualified. Joining one culture does not mean ruling out, or erasing the other. Even in same culture marriages it is not recommended forcing your beliefs on your spouse, let alone in an inter-cultural situation. Moreover, identities can not be eradicated or totally converted because they are not rigid and monolithic. Identities in our day and age are dynamic, fluid and elusive. Even if one of the partners will seemingly give up his or hers identity, it does not mean their identities are erased. It is rather suppressed. Thus, expunging one's identity is not a recipe or a guarantee to a happy and harmonious relationship.
Every marriage is Intercultural
This important guiding principle to interfaith/intercultural wedding ceremony was drawn by Rabbi Adam Chalom2.
Every couple has to combine different family traditions, personal styles and many other details. Religion and culture can simply be two more to add to the list. Interfaith and Intercultural marriages are different – some couples are “interfaith” in that they believe very different things; a Humanistic Jew and an Orthodox Jew would be an “interfaith” relationship. Some couples are better described as “intercultural” – from different cultural backgrounds but believing the same things about life. Each kind of inter-relationship has its particular challenges, but with communication, cooperation, and generosity both can be successful.
How to Arrange An Intercultural Wedding in Israel?
Our officiants have accumulated expirience in intercultural weddings both in Israel and outside of Israel.
If you are interested in such a ceremony please use the form below to contact us and we will help you to the wedding of your dreams.
1. Taken from "How to Marry an Israeli? A Comprehensive Guide, To the Intercultural Wedding Ceremony In the Jewish Tradition, in Israel", By Rabbi Nardy Grün. Not Yet Published.
2. "Wedding Information Booklet", by Rabbi Adam Chalom - Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation of Highland Park, Illinoi. for details: www.kolhadash.com.