Secular leader to perform gay marriages


At least one Jewish organization is psyched by the California Supreme Court ruling to allow same-sex marriages. The secular Sholem Community and its vegvayzer (that’s Yiddish for leader, apparently), Hershl Hartman, is planning to officiate for same-sex couples. The full release follows:

Los Angeles – With the California ban now lifted on gay marriages, The Sholem Community, a progressive, secular Jewish organization, is set to provide support to both Jewish and intercultural gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry.

The Sholem Community’s education director Hershl Hartman, a Secular Jewish Leader (madrikh in Hebrew, vegvayzer in Yiddish) who is certified to perform marriages, welcomed the Court’s ruling. “I am thrilled that the California Supreme Court acted in the interest of equality, justice, and humanity by extending a fundamental civil right,” said Hartman.

“Now that same-gender couples have the same marriage rights enjoyed by all adult couples, I look forward to the opportunity to officiate at gay and lesbian weddings with the full protection that the law provides,” he added.

As an inclusive organization, The Sholem Community has long welcomed LGBT individuals and families and has educated their children in its Sunday School as part of the century-long tradition of secular Jews in furthering the struggle for labor and civil rights. It wholeheartedly endorses the California Supreme Court’s decision holding that marriage is a “basic civil right of personal autonomy and liberty…to which all persons are entitled without regard to their sexual orientation.”

Other Secular Jewish Leaders in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties, as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area, have been certified to perform all life-cycle ceremonies including weddings by the Leadership Conference of Secular and Humanistic Jews. They may be found at its website:

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