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Chicago Rabbis Insist Only Ordained Rabbi Can Officiate at Weddings

The Chicago Board of Rabbis revived today the controversy over cantors officiating at weddings with a statement that “the proper officiant at all Jewish wedding ceremonies should be only a duly ordained rabbi.”

The board said it had issued the statement because of “recent discussions in the community concerning the officiants at the wedding ritual.” The statement held that a couple “embarking upon the sacred responsibilities of marriage,” should have the “spiritual guidance, counsel and inspiration of a rabbi,” The cantor could properly participate in the ceremony by chanting appropriate portions of the service only with the rabbi, the statement said.