Jewish Remarriage - A Guide for Jewish and Interfaith Couples
By Rabbi Andrea Frank
The other day I opened the New York Post and often I find myself compelled to read Page Six. This is a well known section of this popular New York newspaper. It covers news about the celebrities and on this particular day I was struck to read that Ivana Trump’s 6-month marriage did not work out. I do not know Ivana, but she is a woman, a mom and a grandmother. She deserves to love and be loved like so many of us out there having found love a second time around. Though this was Ivana 3 rd attempt at marriage, and I do remember one of the many articles reported that she was being extra careful by having a long relationship to be sure before saying I Do again. Many of us are not living a life in the celebrity limelight, but it is often we read about their lives before we would read about Jane in Ohio.
The path we walk on often leads us to experience life with many challenges and from those experiences, hopefully, will grow from them. To figure out why and though we cannot change the past, we can certainly change our future handling those challenges differently for the better and for the happiness we seek.
You have now grown, put the past behind and took those big steps in front of you to move on. Your belief down deep is that there is love a second time around and now you have found it. Giving marriage a second chance with a love so true that you know this is what you have desired for so long and did not receive the first time around.
Like so many couples after engagement, the wedding day plans begin. Comparison of the first wedding often comes into the picture and you vow to have that day expressed differently so that you feel the separation of the two not meshing with one another. A different date, a different mate, a different marriage and now a different outlook on life is part of the present and no longer the past.
When Jews Divorce
Pertaining to divorce, Reform Judaism recognizes civil divorce as completely dissolving the marriage. The second marriage is not seen any differently than the first marriage when it comes to the rituals and traditions in the Jewish wedding ceremony.
Couples often hear about the “Ritual of Release’ ceremony that takes place with a Rabbi. The sacred bond that held a couple together is terminated, recited aloud in this private ceremony. The Jewish non-civil legal document that is signed by both is called a ‘Get.’ When a person feels strongly and they are practicing their faith, this ceremony will become important in order to move forward in a spiritual way.
Other than that, there are no formal requirements in Judaism that a couple has to go through in order to marry again.
Before and/or During the Engagement
When you are both Jewish, you need to have the conversation. Decide together as a couple what you will or what you will not do in your home together pertaining to Judaism as husband and wife. It is always advisable before, then to be surprised and or disappointed. If all the above is difficult to do by yourselves, then do seek out a Rabbi that could counsel you both.
When you are an interfaith couple, most likely before getting engaged you had the conversation about both faiths. That conversation should not be avoided if you had not already done so. Are you both practicing, are you not? Do you celebrate only the holidays with each of your families? Are there children from a previous marriage? If you are planning to have a family together, will you raise those children Jewish? If you are the non-Jewish partner, is it important to your partner who is Jewish for you to convert? Basically, how much of your both faiths are bottom line important and how they fit into your lives because they will be present even if the only connection is through each of your families.
A couple needs to have the conversation together before meeting with a Rabbi because it is those questions that will in fact come up in conversation when you meet the Rabbi for the first meeting and for officiating your wedding ceremony Jewish or interfaith. Seek out a Rabbi for counseling if this conversation needs some assistance. It is not required, but always knows that a Rabbi is there to assist you both when faith becomes an issue.
Beth and Rob, both divorced from their first marriages wrote:
Rob and I met unexpectedly within a year of our respective separations. We were both so surprised by our budding romance (and out of dating practice) that we completely ignored all the "rules." After our first date, I could tell Rob was a little smitten and it scared me. But I went with it. And ultimately it was the fact that we were honest and vulnerable with one another that enabled us to lay a really solid foundation for our relationship.
Traditional Jewish Wedding Rituals Still Apply
When it comes to the Jewish wedding ceremony, most couples who have not had one before ask the question, “What is required"?
The old things are passed away, and love has been re-ignited and blossoms again. Love is all that matters now. Mazel Tov!