Living through this pandemic has meant that our lives are increasingly lived online, away from other people. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, folks were spending increasing time in isolation, buried in their smart phones. Now, work, dating, worship and even marriage are filtered through Zoom or some other meeting platform.
I’ve been doing “Zoom weddings” for several months. As I’ve written elsewhere, I’ve found them surprisingly emotional. As life online has become more commonplace, I am seeing couples creating more innovative and complex ceremonies. Last night, I had the honor of doing a virtual ceremony of marrying a Jewish couple. While they would have preferred to be married by their Rabbi, this wasn’t possible due to the pandemic. Their synagogue requires a certain amount of pre-marital counseling and the like—all of which was not possible within the time frame the couple was working under.
The option they went for was brilliant, I thought. I officiated the wedding, with my normal celebrancy style of story-telling. Rabbi Melissa Buyer-Witman of Temple Israel in New York City delivered the religious portion of the ceremony. Specifically, she led the vows and ring exchange and offered the traditional Seven Blessings in Hebrew. She was absolutely lovely, and I thought it added a tremendous amount to the service. This was not difficult to choreograph and really spoke to the couple and their families. I would highly recommend this kind of option for couples that have faith tradition that they honor.