Today is May 24, 2018 -

Mazel Tov – now what?

rob-kovach-thumbnailI attended an amazing Jewish wedding last weekend.

This was not simply a glass-breaking Jewish wedding, but a very moving singing of Im Eskachech Yerushalayim (If I forget Jerusalem…) preceding the glass-breaking Jewish wedding.

This was not an obligatory three-minute horah Jewish wedding, but a one-hour marathon, flame-throwing entertainment for the bride and groom, horah Jewish wedding.

Mazel tov Aaron and Rachel. You have beaten the odds to become a non-orthodox Jewish married couple.

Now what?

My colleague, Michael Wise, is the CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo. He is developing a concept that he calls Honeymoon Israel (HMI). Michael writes, “With potential Government of Israel funding, and the support of major funders, Jewish communities will sponsor Israel trips for newlywed couples (in-married, intermarried, GLBT) to Israel. Those trips will be educational, inspirational and recreational… The goal: every year, three-thousand to five-thousand young marrieds will travel to Israel under the auspices of HMI, and that those participants will help re-shape, re-imagine, and re-create the American Jewish future.” Wow! A Birthright experience for newlyweds.

While Michael is pitching this idea to major funders, what can we do locally to embrace our local newlyweds to help them choose Jewish life? Perhaps we can offer them synagogue or JCC membership for a year. Perhaps we can entice them with a complimentary entrée into all Federation sponsored events for a year. Can we ensure that they get enough invitations to Shabbat and Holiday meals that they feel welcome in our community?

Judaism is from cradle to grave. We sell ourselves short by confusing goals with milestones. Bar and Bat Mitzvah is not a goal, but rather the start of Jewish adult life. Wedding is not a goal, but rather the start of Jewish married life.

Judaism does not end with the Mazel Tov!

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