Co-officiated interfaith ceremonies


Actor Anne Hathaway wed her Jewish beau Adam Shulman in an interfaith ceremony with a priest and a rabbi.

What other shared interfaith rituals has JTA picked up over years?


In 1972, the title characters in the TV show "Bridget Loves Bernie," starring Meredith Baxter and eventual second husband David Birney was picketed by the Jewish Defense League for its treatment of interfaith relationships, which included an interfaith ceremony:

The newlyweds’ marriage ceremony was conducted by her brother, a liberal priest, and by a rabbi whose Jewish denomination was not specified. The wedding took place after a brief conference with the priest during which possible religious conflict and the matter of the religious upbringing of children were shrugged off. No conference with the rabbi was shown. Bridget and Bernie never discuss religion substantively, and their scenes alone are mostly devoted to kissing.

A 1996 survey showed that 27 percent of Reform rabbis and 29 percent of Reconstructionist rabbis expressed willingness to "co-officiate a wedding with a priest or minister."

In a 2003 feature on the ‘December dilemma’ — how interfaith families address faith during the holiday season — one interfaith couple noted that a rabbi had participated in their childrens’ baptism ceremonies:

Joy and David Hambourger have two young children in The Family School.

Both had baby naming-baptism ceremonies this year, officiated jointly by a priest and a rabbi. David feels his girls "might choose when they’re 10, which is when you’d start thinking about a Bat Mitzvah," but Joy suggests they "might not have to choose" — though she’d like them to experience the "spiritual comfort" she derives from going to Mass.

No matter which religious path his girls eventually take, David feels confident that he and Joy will have given them the religious tools they need, with love and honesty.

"The fact that we’ve committed to make both faiths part of their upbringing doesn’t put one of us in the background," he says. "That’s the most important thing: We both get to play a part in this, without either feeling a sense of betrayal."

Perhaps the most eclectic real-life shared ceremony picked up by JTA was not a wedding or a baptism, but this 1923 funeral in Utah:

Chinese Christian Asks Rabbi to Officiate at Budhist’s Funeral
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Sep. 28 (JTA) –What is regarded as a curious mixture of faiths occurred here yesterday when Miss Ella Cheek, Chinese and a member of the Congressionalist Church, requested Rabbi Steiner of this city to officiate at the funeral service of Wah Cheek, a Buddhist. The daughter explained that she wanted a minister of "universal religion" to perform the rites and she regarded the Rabbi as belonging to such a religion.Rabbi Steiner quoted from Malachi: "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God made us all?"


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