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FAQ's

Rabbi Allen works with you to make your wedding service creative and memorable. Co-officiating with Protestant or Catholic clergy poses no problem, for Rabbi Allen has the respect of other clergy and the professionalism and expertise that will give you peace of mind on your wedding day.

Have you attended forgettable ceremonies?

The starting point for every memorable wedding is a personalized creative wedding ceremony. Every word should reflect the thoughts and feelings of bride and groom which they have shared during premarital counseling. A by-the-book ceremony from the Minister's or Rabbi's manual or a vapid service by a Justice of the Peace just does not do the job.

Every couple wants their ceremony to be memorable.

A wedding officiant, well-schooled in the writing of unique ceremonies, can be of immense help. Officiants offer a broad outline and guide you in your choices. You may decide on creative readings instead of, or supplementing readings, not necessarily from scripture. Visit www.e-ketubah.com for artful and imaginative ideas for your wedding document.
 

My Services Include:
 
Send you driving directions to my home; possible readings and proposed outline for service after you have called to make an appointment.
Premarital counseling - up to six hours.
Write a ceremony especially for you, using (when necessary) both English and French, Spanish, Italian and German.
Send you the ceremony for review (interactive) - you can suggest or request changes in the ceremony with enough lead-time.
If a co-officiate is desired, I contact him/her before writing the ceremony.

Ask Rabbi Allen!

Wedding Planning FAQ's - The most frequently-asked questions by couples who are planning their Interfaith wedding ceremony.
The Week Before Your Wedding - FAQ's - Most commonly asked of the Rabbi by the bride in the last week before the wedding.

 

 

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ's

Wedding Planning FAQ's
The following are the most frequently-asked questions by couples who are planning their Interfaith wedding ceremony:

The right time to start the process. Do you travel to officiate weddings?
What is your primary requirement of couples? If you are not available on our date, what do you suggest?
Do you co-officiate weddings? Do you officiate weddings on Saturday?
In a Church? Do you officiate at other kinds of weddings?
What is the best way to contact you? Is there something else that distinguishes you from other rabbis?
What days won't you officiate? What kind of rabbi are you?
Do you officiate at Jewish-Jewish weddings?    



The right time to start the process.
Ideally you will meet with me to plan your ceremony. In that way I can write your ceremony months before your wedding date. Interfaith couples should begin their search for officiants even earlier. Call today: our calendar fills very quickly. Remember, no two couples are exactly alike, so every ceremony needs to be personalized. Clergy officiants can help with this process. I like the idea of inclusivity, making your family and friends part of the ceremony instead of having them act as passive bystanders. You will have the opportunity to write personal promises to one another in addition to, or instead of traditional vows. To explore all the options, contact Rabbi Allen (215) 657-3737 today!

Wedding Planning FAQ

What is your primary requirement of couples?
Time. That is, time for getting to know one another and for creating together a warm and meaningful ceremony.

Wedding Planning FAQ

Do you co-officiate weddings?
Yes. I have many friends who are priests; some who are ministers. The overwhelming number (about 97%) of all my Interfaith weddings are Catholic-Jewish.

Wedding Planning FAQ

In a Church?
No. I don’t believe a church or synagogue is the correct venue. I believe that Interfaith weddings should take place on "neutral" ground, such as a country club or other facility.

Wedding Planning FAQ

What is the best way to contact you?
I do hold dates for couples who make a phone commitment, so call today!

Wedding Planning FAQ

What days won't you officiate?
Rosh Ha-Shanah, Yom Kippur, and the three major Jewish Festivals.

Wedding Planning FAQ

Do you officiate at Jewish-Jewish weddings?
Yes. I still serve my former congregation in all life-cycle events when requested.

Wedding Planning FAQ

Do you travel to officiate weddings?
I've traveled to France, Italy, Canada and Central America. I also have officiated throughout the United States. In addition to English I have officiated in French, Spanish, Italian and German.

Wedding Planning FAQ

If you are not available on our date, what do you suggest?
As a founding member of the International Federation of Rabbis, I am able to call upon colleagues from all over the United States. In addition, I have a number of colleagues in the Philadelphia area upon whom I can call.

Wedding Planning FAQ

Do you officiate weddings on Saturday?
Yes. Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons after 3:30PM

Wedding Planning FAQ

Do you officiate at other kinds of weddings?
Yes. I have officiated at Nondenominational weddings, Hindu-Jewish, etc.

Wedding Planning FAQ

Is there something else that distinguishes you from other rabbis?
Yes. In addition to my very wide educational background, I was a cantor who sang opera internationally for twenty-two years. My singing ability add a real "plus" to weddings, both Jewish and Interfaith.

Wedding Planning FAQ

What kind of rabbi are you?
Having grown up in an Orthodox and then Conservative home, I chose Reform Judaism at the age of thirty. After intense study for the rabbinate, once I was ordained, I decided that my liberal outlook and study of other religions made me a "Post-denominational" rabbi, for there is a great deal to be learned from all religions. The most important concepts that guide my life are morality, ethical behavior and social responsibility.

Wedding Planning FAQ

Wedding Planning FAQ's

The Week Before Your Wedding - FAQ's:
Most commonly asked of the Rabbi by the bride in the last week before the wedding.

When do we sign the Marriage Application and the Ketubah?
What is the significance of the “Chuppah?"
Do the men have to wear a "kipah" ( Hebrew for scull cap) In Yiddish it is a "Yarmulka?"
Do I stand on the right or the left of my groom once I am under the "Chuppah?"
When my groom comes from the "Chuppah" to get me, how does he lead me back to the "Chuppah"?
Must we have so many people surrounding us under the Chuppah? I'd like my guests to be able to see what is happening and so many people under the Chuppah will block their view?
Recently, a member of my family has passed on and had so much looked forward to this day. Is there any way you could mention their name during the ceremony?
I know that I will be wearing a wedding ring, but my groom chooses not to. Is this proper?
I will be receiving a beautiful diamond wedding ring from my groom. Is there a problem for me wearing it during the ceremony?
Some members of my family are objecting to the candle lighting portion of the wedding service, saying they never heard of this before. Is this permitted by Halachah (Jewish law)?
What will I do with my bouquet of flowers when I am asked to place my grooms ring on his finger or light my candle or drink from the cup of wine?
I have a young child from a previous marriage. Is it appropriate to have my child stand with me under the Chuppah?
Some of my guests haven't arrived yet. We can wait for them. Can't we?
We noticed on the wedding agreement we signed with you that final payment is to be paid two weeks prior to the wedding day. It will be okay if we gave you the payment at the wedding...wouldn't it?

When do we sign the Marriage Application and the Ketubah?
The Marriage Application and the Ketubah can be signed by your chosen witnesses during the marriage service. Do not confuse the marriage service with the wedding ceremony.

The marriage service is private, usually held in a small, but separate room, away from the guests, about 15 minutes prior to the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom and their immediate families, plus those who you will be honoring as witnesses should be present. Witnesses to the marriage certificate from the state can be any two people you choose. Witnesses to the Ketubah can be either men or women or one of each, who are not blood relatives to either the bride or groom (for Jewish ceremonies only). The actual marriages take place here and once the witnesses sign you are legally married.

PLEASE do not forget to have the civil marriage application with you at this time. I cannot marry you without it. Keep the marriage application together with the return envelope and papers that come with it. NOTE: once this application is signed by the witnesses, you will get your original in Pennsylvania. The completed application must be returned by clergy, a judge or a notary public. When I mail it back in other states, it generally takes about three (3) weeks until you receive your marriage certificate. You will have already signed the application when you applied for it, and your signatures will be notarized by the clerk.

The ketubah, once signed by your witnesses, makes you Halachicly ( by Jewish law ) Married. I will read it during the wedding ceremony and I will present it to the bride's parents after the wedding ceremony. It is not the legal document it once was. Many Interfaith couples buy an Interfaith Ketubah as a beautiful remembrance of the occasion.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

What is the significance of the “Chuppah?"
The "Chuppah" represents your first home. By coming out of the Chuppah to come to you, and you accepting his hand and going with him under the Chuppah, you have signified your acceptance of betrothal. I usually explain the Chuppah during the ceremony.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

Do the men have to wear a "kipah" ( Hebrew for scull cap) In Yiddish it is a "Yarmulka?" For Jewish weddings it is in order.
No. Those men who are invited who are not Jewish should not be asked to wear a kipah. It is an insult to other faiths to do so. If the groom is Jewish, he should, along with all the other men in attendance who are Jewish. If the groom is not Jewish he doesn't have to: however, out of respect to the Jewish bride and her faith, he should consider doing so. Note: women are not required to wear a head covering.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

Do I stand on the right or the left of my groom once I am under the "Chuppah?"
Following ancient custom, the groom should always be on the right side of the bride. Reason: The man always needed to defend himself (and now his bride as well), and since the vast majority of men are right handed, he should be unobstructed from removing his sword from his left hip. Therefore, the man's right side should always be open.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

When my groom comes from the "Chuppah" to get me, how does he lead me back to the "Chuppah"?
If the groom takes you by the hand or elbow to lead you under the Chuppah, he should do this using his right hand for good reasons. It will automatically put you on the right side when the two of you come under the Chuppah.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

Must we have so many people surrounding us under the Chuppah? I'd like my guests to be able to see what is happening and so many people under the Chuppah will block their view?
Following our traditions has been important to Jews. Having immediate family with you under the Chuppah is a tradition of long standing. However, in recent years and sometimes due to age, many weddings provide for the grandparents, parents, flower girl and ring-bearer to sit on the very first row as a sign of honor. Then, only the maid of honor and the best man may join the bridge and groom under the Chuppah along with the rabbi. Groomsmen and bridesmaids may either take seating on the second row, or may be requested to be present at the Chuppah and may fan out as to not obstruct the view of the guests, with men on the grooms side and women on the bride's side. The choice is yours to make.

Parents may also be asked to stand at the sides of the Chuppah of their children.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

Recently, a member of my family has passed on and had so much looked forward to this day. Is there any way you could mention their name during the ceremony?
In ancient days, this was not done. It was thought that mentioning the name of someone who has gone might bring a reminder of death to this joyous occasion. However, over time, as people have moved slowly into a time of tremendous spirituality, it is nearly normal to mention a person’s name as being here in spirit. Please let me know of your personal decision prior when we meet for Premarital Counseling.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

I know that I will be wearing a wedding ring, but my groom chooses not to. Is this proper?
The wearing of a wedding ring says to the entire world that "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." For many centuries, it has been the custom for a man to place a wedding ring upon his brides hand; in essence, showing the world that this woman has been sanctified in marriage to another. Most often today, marriages are sanctified by a double ring ceremony with both parties to it each displaying their participation in sanctity. However, a man may choose not to wear a ring. This is not to say that his deep love and affection is only in words and does not carry with it the display of being married. The choice should be left to the groom since our tradition did not provide for this.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

I will be receiving a beautiful diamond wedding ring from my groom. Is there a problem for me wearing it during the ceremony?
Problem? No! Life’s problems are only made up of what we perceive as problems. However, going back to tradition once more, it is believed within Judaism that a circle signifies life, and in order for a life to be whole (with a ‘W’) the wedding ring should have no hole (with only an ‘h’)in it. A hole shows that this life, or marriage if you will, may have and imperfection in it

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

Some members of my family are objecting to the candle lighting portion of the wedding service, saying they never heard of this before. Is this permitted by Halachah (Jewish law)?
With all due respect to those who never heard of this before, they also never heard of a prayer service, or a holiday celebration or certainly not a wedding on the beach, in a forest or by the edge of a lake either. Anything that can strengthen a marriage through ceremony has always been acceptable to Jews. God did not create the wedding ceremony. Humans did. When each of you is asked to light a separate candle that represents who you are, your dreams, your hopes, your aspirations; that's fine. But when you are asked to ignite a common flame of passion using each of your own flames, this adds significance to the marriage. Again, let your own feelings guide you in making this decision. Please let me know during Premarital Counseling.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

What will I do with my bouquet of flowers when I am asked to place my grooms ring on his finger or light my candle or drink from the cup of wine?
Now you know why you have chosen a maid or matron of honor who will be standing next to you.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

I have a young child from a previous marriage. Is it appropriate to have my child stand with me under the Chuppah?
How wondrous is our God, who provides a replacement for a husband lost to divorce or even early death (may it never occur again) and one who will also be a father to your child.

Our great-grandparents would only whisper the word "divorce" as though it was a dirty word...a shame upon the family because they believed that a marriage was to be forever, no matter what. Better they should think of how miserably unhappy their own lives would be if they had to face an unfaithful partner, an abusive partner or worse. How very special would be their relationship with God, just knowing that God's love for them enabled them to be free of such awful pressures. They would say how grateful they are to God, who has permitted you to be free from such enslavement.

Talmud provides for divorce. Our ancient and holy sages were wise enough to know that nothing on earth lasts forever, and many things have to be corrected by humans themselves. Worn out spark plugs need to be replaced, VCR's occasionally record the wrong channel and even souls need re-shoeing. Certain diets need to be changed in order to work properly. Why should marriage be any different?

No. Your child should not stand with you under the chuppah. It is you and your groom who are being bound as one under the eyes of God. Your children of a previous marriage should not be part of the wedding ceremony.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

Some of my guests haven't arrived yet. We can wait for them. Can't we?
Of course another 15 minutes will be acceptable, however, assuming that you did send out invitations stating where and at what time the ceremony was to take place, any length of time beyond that would be rude of them and also improper for them to hold up your wedding day.

The Week Before Your Wedding FAQ

We noticed on the wedding agreement we signed with you that final payment is to be paid two weeks prior to the wedding day. It will be okay if we gave you the payment at the wedding...wouldn't it?
Unlike caterers, florists and musicians who expect final payment at the wedding, I consider it inappropriate and actually embarrassing to accept final payment before the eyes of your loved ones. You accepted this responsibility long ago with the signing of he wedding agreement and like a marriage; you are expected to honor this agreement. Please mail your final payment two weeks prior to your wedding day.

While I am well aware that these questions and answers will be helpful to you, each wedding is different and additional questions will arise. Please do not hesitate calling me at any time other then Shabbat to ask. I am, after all, here for you.

Rabbi Richard Allen, Ph.D.

Honeymoon Destinations -  Where I have listed specific B&B's, I have stayed in them and been delighted!

Trains: If you are booking Trains, both in-country and across Europe, go to: www.raileurope.com

While I don't usually give commercials, I cannot help but recommend any of Rick Steves' books.

Planning & Information:

Europe Beds and Breakfasts, Country Inns, Small Hotels and Vacation Rentals
Europe Online
Concierge.com - All Destinations in Europe
The Hotel Guide - An International Hotel Directory and Guide
BedandBreakfast.com - Worldwide directory of Bed and Breakfasts and Inns
Hotel Reservations at Hotelcity.com
Best Western International Inc. - Hotels in U.S., Canada, Mexico, North America, South America,
Concierge.com - The Travel Supersite
Expedia.com - Discount airfare, flights, hotels, cars, vacation packages, cruises, maps.
USA Today Travel Guide
Fodors.com
Lowestfare.com
Autostrade S.p.A. - The Motorway Network
Universal Currency Converter
Rick Steves' Travel News - Back Issues

France: Bed and Breakfasts

B&B Domaine De La Grange Neuve
Owners: Jos and Ann Verbruggen
Tel: 011-334-9066-5527
Fax: same
E-Mail: lagrangeneuve@infonie.fr
Route de Saumane
84210 La Roque-Sur-Pernes

B&B MME. Eve Daran
Tel:  011-334-9368-2243
Fax: 011-334-9338-2853
14, rue Campestra
Cannes 06400
France

MME Bourgade B&B Villa Panko
Work: 011-334-9367-9249
17, chemin du Parc Saramartel
06160 Antibes - Juan-les-Pins, (Alpes Maritimes)
France

B&B, Le Rocher Pointu M. et Mme. André Malek 
Home: 011-334-6657-4187
Fax: 011-334-6657-0177
Plan de Dève
30390 Aramon
France

Check out Rick Steves' France.

Other France Sites:
Lonely Planet - Destination Paris
The France Guide - Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, Gites, Accommodations
BnB.net - Online Hotel Directory
Concierge.com France Overview
Le Rocher Pointu-Les Blancs Manteaux
Karen Brown's France Bed & Breakfast List
Rocher Pointu, page d'accueil - I-farm-Alter-v0304
Auberge du Presbytère, Saignon, Luberon Region France on 1st Traveler's Choice Lodging Director
Bed & Breakfast Villa Tricoli Saint Tropez - Saint Tropez, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France

Italy: Bed and Breakfasts

La Dolce Vita (Rome)
http://utenti.tripod.it/ladolcevita/ 
Email:  ladolcevita1@hotmail.com

Pontassieve  [Near Florence] Vacanze nel Verde (Flora Fontana)
E-Mail: lacasellina@tiscalinet.it

Venice: Hotel Savoia & Jolanda (Piazza San Marco)
http://www.ehi.com/travel/ehi/italy/veni0022.html 
http://www.fondazione.com/home.htm

B&B Albergo Milano in Varenna on Lake Como
http://www.varenna.net 
E-Mail:  hotelmilano@varenna.net

B&B Albergo Milano -  more comfortable, and right in the old town, with a magnificent breakfast terrace--is your best Varenna splurge (tel. & fax 0341/830-298, $110 doubles).  All rooms with Bath, shower & toilet.

Check out Rick Steves' Italy.

Other Italy Sites:
Karen Brown's Italy Bed & Breakfast List
Welcome to Italy - Embassy of Italy - Ambasciata d'Italia - Washington, DC
Bed and Breakfast.com - Italy
La Dolce Vita - Bed and Breakfast - Roma - B&B Rome
Italy Hotel Reservation
Hotels in Florence - Firenze
Tuscany.net - Accommodations, Self-Catering, Castles, Farm Houses, Villas and Hotels in Tuscany
Villa Il Crocicchio
Travel Europe Italy guide Florence Firenze
Travel Europe Italy guide Rome Roma
Bed & Breakfast Association of Rome
In Italy Online - Traveling to Italy, Information about Italy, and accommodations in Italy
In Italy Online - Useful Information About Driving in Italy
In Italy Online - Hill Towns
In Italy Online - Tuscany
In Italy Online - Advance reservations for the Uffizi Galleries

Spain: Bed and Breakfasts

Spain does not have B & B's as such.  You can find hotels and Paradores.  Best Western has a great hotel in Granada, not far from the Alhambra!  Seville has an inexpensive hotel,  Hostal Arias, in the heart of the city!  

Check out Rick Steves' Spain and Portugal.

Other Spain Sites:
Discover Spain with the Tourist Office of Spain
The best sites in Spain from Europe Online
Ok Spain, All you need to know to make your trip a success
Lonely Planet - Destination Spain
Information about the City of Córdoba, Andalucía, Southern Spain
Cordoba
Jerez de la Frontera
Granada
Seville
Historical Towns of the Province of Seville
Things of interest
Places To Stay
Yahoo! Regional Countries Spain - Andalucía
SOL - Seville On Line - The complete guide on Seville - Andalusie, Spain
Feria de Abril, Sevilla - April Fair Seville, Spain.
Turespaña - Spain Tourist Information
HotelSearch.com - Accommodations in Spain
Consulate of Spain in New York
Spanish Fiestas
Tour Spain - Turespaña
Ronda - Information about the historic town, Andalucia, Spain
Itineraries through Andalucia, Southern Spain
Andalucia Official Tourism Site
Concierge.com Spain Overview

Portugal Bed and Breakfasts

For the best values in gracious Bed and Breakfasts, go to Manor Houses of Portugal. This site, in particular, is excellent!

B&B Manor Houses of Portugal
David Lumby (Susan)
Tel: 011-351-835-065
Fax: 011-351-811-491
Email: lumby@manorhouses.com

B&B Amare (Salema, Algarve, Portugal)
http://www.algarve.co.uk/
Fabulous value on the Atlantic. English owner. No need to speak anything but English!
John Wilkinson - Owner 
Work: 011-351-282- 695-165
E-Mail: johnmare@mail.telepac.pt

B&B Quinta De Santa Caterina
Rua Visconde de Palma de Almeda
2530 Lourinhã Portugal 
Work: 351-258-835065
Fax: 351-258-811491
E-Mail: quinta.santa.caterina@netc.pt
Owner: Senhora Dona Teresa Maria De Palma De Almeida Braga
Dom Jorge Palma De Almeida

Check out Rick Steves' Spain and Portugal.

Other Portugal Sites:
Portugal Tourism and Attractions
Manor Houses of Portugal Promotions - Accommodations in Portugal
Salema Beach .......Information on the area... A Mare bed and breakfast
Concierge.com Portugal Overview
  

 

Interfaith Weddings
Rabbi Richard Allen
 

Phone:  (215) 657-3737       Fax:  (215) 657-5588       Allen@RabbiAllen.com
 


Revised: October 20, 2003 .
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