Destination Weddings

A destination wedding is your opportunity to vacation with family and friends while celebrating your wedding at the same time! So much fun for everyone together, and a wonderful time to connect and enjoy each other’s company in an exotic location. Lots of logistical coordination, of course.

Since destination weddings involve more time at the venue for Rabbi Wendy, she often coordinates extra learning activities on other days in addition to the wedding ceremony. These include meditation, discussions, spiritual nature walks, cooking classes, and storytelling. With her years of experience, she can help you plan a fun and enriching destination event!


LGBT Weddings

Since the beginning of her rabbinate, Rabbi Wendy frequently led a prayer for marriage equality whenever she officiated at a wedding.  That time has finally arrived in California on a permanent basis. What a blessing!

Judaism values family, and marriage facilitates the creation and growth of families. Our most well-known and well-loved Jewish stories are about families, and all the joy and messiness that comes with that. There is a sense of wholeness and belonging that comes with being a family, of being able to stand in front of one’s community and to ask for support as a family is created and begins a life journey together.

Whether you are a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or straight couple, it is a blessing to your community to be able to fulfill the mitzvah of rejoicing you as you officially become a family together. As a family, you extend the hospitality of your home and your hearts to include your loved ones. You will support each other in times of trouble, and celebrate each other in times of joy. You will create peace in your home day by day (shalom bayit), making it a refuge of comfort and warmth where you can renew and strengthen one another.


Rabbi Wendy looks forward to the opportunity


Nature Weddings

Many couples cherish a wedding experience outdoors.
It is an opportunity to affirm the beauty of nature and your affinity with it. Jewish culture teaches that we, as human beings, are partners with the Eternal Spirit of the universe in renewing the beauty of creation day by day. How perfect, then, to hold a wedding ceremony in a natural environment.


Funerals

In Judaism, a funeral is a respectful, comforting, and cultural way to say a final farewell to a beloved family member. Prayers, songs, and readings from Psalms and wisdom literature surround the sharing of memories.


The word eulogy means ‘good speech.’ It is a formalized process for sharing memories at a funeral. A eulogy begins telling the story of someone’s life, gathering the recollections of family members and dear friends just as chapters of a book are compiled to tell a story. Rabbi Wendy meets with families in person or by phone to help in the memory sharing experience. Unlike funerals depicted on television or in films, Rabbi Wendy facilitates a personal and heart-felt coming together of friends and extended family to comfort the mourners.

Judaism is wise in creating a path for mourners to walk during the course of the year after the death of a family member. It is important to feel the grief and express it, rather than holding it inside and pretending that everything is as it was before. Jews wear their hearts on their sleeves, and this sharing aids the healing process. We have learned that it is often too difficult to put on a happy face for others when our sadness is overwhelming. Allowing others to comfort us when we are mourning helps us feel that we have a lifeline within the confusion of grief.


For more assistance with grief counseling and support, please call Our House Grief Support Center toll-free at (888) 417-1444 or see their website at www.OurHouse-Grief.org.


Interfaith Weddings

A wedding ceremony that includes traditions from both of your families will speak to your hearts as well as those of your family and friends. There are often rituals that each family has historically experienced that are worthwhile to include in your ceremony. We can incorporate readings, poetry, garments, flowers, music, and sacred actions into a ceremony that is uniquely YOU!


Baby Naming Ceremonies

Welcoming a new child into your family is one of the most sacred and joyous occasions of life and community. In Hebrew, we call these ceremonies brit or bris - meaning covenant. Covenant is the term Jewish people use to describe our relationship with God. A welcoming ceremony initiates a new child into the Jewish covenant relationship with God. For a boy, this includes a circumcision (milah in Hebrew). For girls (and for boys who have been circumcised in the hospital), it includes a foot washing - a biblical ritual of welcome and hospitality.

During the ceremony, a child’s names are announced publicly for the first time. It is customary to hold this ceremony on the 8th day after a baby’s birth and to actually call the child ‘Baby’ until then. Parents have the opportunity to tell the story of choosing the name and for whom the child is named. It is also customary for each family member and friend to offer a blessing to the child as part of the welcome into the community.

After the wedding, this is often the next ceremony that a family plans in joy. Rabbi Wendy will plan a beautiful ceremony to celebrate your new family member!


Bar Mitzvah/ Bat Mitzvah

Many folks see bar and bat mitzvah (son and daughter of the commandments) as a conclusion ceremony, an achievement and reward for several years of concerted effort in learning about Judaism. While becoming a bar or bat mitzvah does mark an achievement, it is just the beginning of Jewish learning for both the teen student and his/her family. The teen brain is very different than the child brain. It has more capacity for complex ideas, synthesis, and analysis. There are many Jewish concepts that are just too difficult for the child brain to perceive. The b’nai mitzvah experience prepares the child brain for the next stages of Jewish learning as the brain matures and grows through the teen and adult years.

Becoming a Jew is a process of life-long learning and growth which starts in a new way for teens. Many b’nai mitzvah programs provide elementary school aged students with a depth experience of learning to decode Hebrew in preparation for mastering prayer recitation and Torah reading. It also includes an opportunity to study a portion of Torah text for deeper meaning. Most Jews need much more breadth than this in their Jewish knowledge.


Rabbi Wendy’s philosophy of the b’nai mitzvah experience is completely different that what most synagogue programs offer. . . . If you are looking for an experience beyond the synagogue walls, set up a meeting with Rabbi Wendy to discuss your goals.


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