Beginning with his own non-rabbinate wedding, he has performed the weddings of hundreds of couples in the past few years, and calls on everyone to stop apologizing, to take their Jewish identities in their own hands, and for all young couples to create their weddings according to their beliefs and personal preferences. Meet Rabbi Nardi Green.
Name: Rabbi Nardi Green
Occupation: Rabbi from the Humanistic Secular stream of Judaism. Manages Tkasim, a portal for Jewish secular rites of passage texts.
Where do you live? Jerusalem
Do you perform weddings as a member of an organization? I officiate in the spirit of free Judaism, with an affinity to the secular-humanistic stream of Judaism. I was ordained by the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, and its satellite in Israel.
Rabbi Nardy Green at Inbar and Yonatan's Wedding. Photo: Ilan Svirski
What is the nature of your wedding ceremonies?Every human act is a ceremony which brings to expression a person’s views of the world. Every true expression of a person creates his or her own world. In fact, there is little difference between the day before or the day after the wedding. But the wedding ceremony is a statement that the couple makes, a declaration before their community as to their intention to create a family, as well as a personal commitment to each other, out of their union. The ceremony is also a way to perpetuate ancient traditional culture, which the couple feels a part of, while also renewing it and making it their own.
Do you marry LGBT couples? Absolutely. As long as there are available both legally and personally to create a family. I have married many LGBT couples.
Do you perform mixed marriages?Absolutely. I marry all human beings, without regard to any background. This is a multi-cultural wedding. If the intention is about people who are without religion, then even they, in Israel, define themselves as Jewish. I have married many such couples, here and abroad.
How did you get into this work? It all began with my own wedding. My partner, Inbal and I didn’t want to marry through the rabbinate even though we are both Kosher Jews. We learned about the character of the Jewish wedding ceremony in a beit midrash (a seminary) for religious and secular Jews, and together we built a personal ceremony which was conducted by Michael Deck. Subsequent to our wedding, three different couples who attended then asked me to marry them. That’s how I got started. My personal mission was to instill professionalism and integrity into a very new field. This is how I built the ethics code and the service treaty for ceremony officiators which is explicit in defining the duties of the officiator—covering everything from arrival time, to dress code.
What is the most memorable wedding you conducted? After conducting hundreds of weddings, it’s hard to name one over another. The ones I conducted abroad are most memobrable due to the complexity that went into organizing them. But some of the more unique experiences were: On a beach in Crete with a German Jew and a German-Tunisian Muslim, in which I spoke about living together between cultures. A wedding for an already married couple—the first wedding was a week after the roof of a wedding hall collapsed. They had so scramble to organize a last minute wedding for 600 guests and were not able to enjoy it. So they asked me to organize a love-union, a replacement for what they had missed, with two friends, on the beach in Caesarea, over Shavuot. I performed weddings for mentally disabled couples, for couples who live abroad and came to share their event with their families ina big wedding party, or a wedding that I conduced with Red Band (a local Rock Band, IH) , or another wedding for a couple of rockers in which Geva Alon (Singer/Songwriter, IH), sang the song with which they walked down the aisle. There were couples who invited me to hold the birth ceremonies of their first borns, and also of their second children. At LGBT weddings there is always extra excitement, and everyone cries…There was a woman I married twice, because she got divorced after the first one (not my fault). A married couple who came from the U.S, and the bride’s parents and the groom threw her a surprise ceremony. After I gave them a tour of the Archaeological garden, I performed a ceremony at the Kotel, in which they wrapped themselves up in a Talis, with many tears of Joy and excitement.
Message to the Knesset: A real Civil Marriage law will mean that each individual in this country would have the right to start a family, without discrimination. There must be a unified path for marriage and divorce for everyone, and not two! And not including legal unions. The wedding ceremony is not the domain of the state! The role of the state is to give legal state in order to grant rights. Each person has the right to be written up in their legal documents as married. This should be uniform for every single citizen, through the principle of equality.
Message to the Jewish People: This is a free Israel and each person is entitled to craft his or her own culture and identity. Seculars: stop apologizing. Take responsibility over your Judaism and don’t let it be taken over by the institutionalized religion. Have yourselves the secular-Jewish ceremony your hearts desire.
Who to contact about a wedding: Please contact Nardy directly at 052-473-8983. Emaill: firstname.lastname@example.org, or at his website