Tag Archives: interfaith

With a Little Help from Our Friends

Last Fall my partner and I got married. We truly wanted it to be a community event, a chance to share our love and commitment with those we love the most. Part of creating a community through our wedding was to include as many friends (and friends of friends) in helping us achieve our vision. We are quite lucky in that we have so many talented people in our lives. I wanted to give these folks a public shout out and show you all their amazing work.

First, our photographer Jordyn Rozensky is a close friend of my husband. She did our engagement photos and also shot our wedding (along with her shooting partner and fiance Justin Hamel). Her work is wonderful and having her know us and understand us as a couple, made a difference.


Our invitations were created by my friend Kate Ziegler and her partner Jack Romano , who run Union Jack Creative. They blogged about the process of creating our invitations here. They also did the lettering for our escort cards. Kate and Jack not only listed to our music/concert themed ideas, but added personal touches that we hadn’t even thought of, like a silhouette of a chuppa and our venue on the invitation that we loved.

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I knew before I was even engaged that I would not be doing a veil. For me it was one of those antiquated anti-feminist traditions that I couldn’t (wouldn’t even try to) reclaim. I wanted a flower crown. I asked my friend Caity MacLeod (her husband plays in a band with mine), who I knew through her instagram was super creative whether it was through her photography, her lettering or other crafts. When I first asked her, she admitted she had never done one before but was confident she could do it. And she nailed it. It was everything I wanted. Another bonus, she gave me extra flowers and berries in case any fell off the crown, instead I ended up using the extra pieces in my brideswomen’s hair.

I wasn’t the only one with a custom headpiece. My husband’s Best Man’s mother, who has known him since he was a child, hand painted the kippot for the wedding.

Jake & Brenda _JRRozensky (224 of 700)

Our beautiful chuppa was designed and created by our friend Leora Mallach. Leora owns BBbatiks where she creates original batik textiles. We met with Leora and she explained the batik process to us and we chose colors and patterns that spoke to us. The final piece was exactly what we had in mind. We love it so much that we chose to keep it up and eat under it during the reception.


Our other judaica piece that we had especially designed for us was our ketubah. Luckily we were introduced via email to Jennifer Kaplan through our mutual friend Lindy. Jennifer creates one of a kind paper cut art. We corresponded and told her we wanted to incorporate the tree of life both for it’s spiritual significance and to symbolize our environmentalism. We also asked that music be incorporated somehow as that was a running theme throughout our wedding. The design she came up with was more that we could have imagined. We are excited we have this remarkable piece of art to display in our home. You can see all her work at Jennifer Kaplan Designs.


We had two musical contributors to the festivities as well. One of my husband’s groomsmen Thom played the processional music on guitar. And my friend and bandmate Mike played guitar while I serenaded my groom during the reception. My husband proposed to me with a song so I thought it only fair that I return the favor.

This is Thom serving double duty as musician and groomsman.

This is Thom serving double duty as musician and groomsman.

The final addition worth mentioning is not a friend or even a friend of a friend but certainly worth noting none the less. Part of keeping our wedding green, I decided not to have flower bouquets. Instead I found an amazing alternative on Etsy. My paper flower bouquets were made from sheet  music of our first dance song. Dana’s Paper Flowers is a unique alternative to a traditional bouquet. They were a huge hit and bonus I have it as a keepsake.

Our wedding was such a fun day. We are so lucky we got to spend it with so many wonderful people. We knew that our wedding wasn’t only about us but everyone in our lives, and I think we made that clear through our choices.



Passover Reflections

This year, for the first time in the three years since my partner and I have been together, I observed Passover with him. It has taken me a month to put to words what this experience meant to me.

Passover is my partner’s favorite Jewish holiday. He loves the symbolism, the message and most importantly the gathering of family and friends. Last year we hosted our first seder and it was amazing to watch him lead our group of Jewish and non-Jewish friends and family through the rituals. His passion for his faith and culture are one of the many reasons I fell in love with him in the first place.

This year since we are planning our wedding, we decided not to host. Although I had known for a long time that I would be spending the rest of my life with him, getting engaged made me think even more about our future and what it truly means to be in an interfaith relationship. While reading The New Jewish Wedding, we came upon the chapter on creating a Jewish home and quickly realized we had already done that. We keep a fairly kosher kitchen, we have mezuzot on door frames and our kiddush cup makes an appearance on the dining room table on Fridays (when we can). But with Passover approaching this year, our first as an engaged couple and our last before we’re married, I started to think more about what it means to create a Jewish life for us and for our future children.

I decided to observe Passover this year for several reasons. I wanted to stand in solidarity with my partner. To him, Passover is more that just a week of eating matzah, it’s a week to reflect on the excesses in our lives. I wanted to experience being mindful of what I eat, when on the daily I have the privilege of not having to. I also wanted to be able to share with our future children that just because Mami isn’t Jewish doesn’t mean she can’t be a part of everything they experience as Jews.

It wasn’t an easy week. Meal planning was crucial and I definitely ate more fruits and nuts than I ever thought I would. I made it though the week. And that slice of pizza and first sip of beer after it was all over was truly amazing. In the end Passover wasn’t about giving anything up. It was about gaining a new perspective of what my life will be like going forward. And just one more reminder that I made the right decision when choosing my life partner.