Kipah or No Kipah?

Does one wear a kippah to an inter-faith, priest-and-rabbi co-officiated wedding? If one is a Reform rabbi who is there because it’s a family member getting married?

Orthodox or Conservative rabbis, as I understand it, can’t attend. No dilemma. As a Reform rabbi, I have the flexibility to decide for myself. I believe Reconstructionist rabbis do too, & of course rabbis who are affiliated with none of those denominations.

I have many new things to think about since last night’s wedding. The family tensions, the pain & grief & loss that I know were there for parents on both sides, were not evident. The two co-officiants both acknowledged difference & stressed unity. Given that these two young people were going to marry each other, this wedding honored both of them & both of their family heritages. There’s a lot more that I’m thinking about that. Because when a Jew marries a Christian, that is not religiously a marriage of equals; the 2 religions have not been on an equal footing for Christianity’s entire existence. As I said, more on that another time.

One interesting thing is that when religion, God, & family heritage are equally important to both partners in a marriage, they share some values which may NOT be shared even in a marriage between two Jews. Or two anythings. When one partner values religion, God, or religious culture & the other is antagonistic toward same, the couple is set up for some heartaches (especially around raising children, where all this gets much more intense) just as much as they may be if they’re committed to different religions.

More on child-raising another time, too.

In any case, I didn’t wear a kippah. I admit that on the ride down I felt naked. But once the wedding started I knew it was the right choice. I really didn’t want to be identified as being part of what the rabbi was doing.

Note in January 2008: What I didn’t want to be identified with is a rabbi co-officiating with a priest at a wedding that’s neither a Jewish nor Christian ceremony.  I am not embarrassed to be known as a rabbi when another rabbi — or anyone else, for that matter — is performing a basically Jewish ceremony for an interfaith couple.  Been there, done that.  Co-officiation is a different animal altogether.

It’s very odd. I can recognize & respect the positive impulses that would lead that rabbi to co-officiate. I can get inside that worldview. But it is not mine & I refuse to make it so.