How does your initiative work, and how can we begin the process?
A detailed answer to the question “How does this all work?” can be found in our Complete Guide for Couples. If what we offer is what you are seeking, your next step is to fill out the digital form “I DO!” that can be found in the menu above, and we’ll be happy to contact you to set up an initial meeting. (This can take place either in our Jerusalem offices or virtually, as you wish.)
Is it possible to hold a wedding ceremony on Shabbat through Chuppot?
Is the style of the ceremony at least somewhat flexible?
Absolutely. In your initial meeting with a Chuppot officiating rabbi or halachic advisor, we will go over the stages of the ceremony, and your ceremony will be officiated taking your desires and requests into the utmost consideration, within the framework of Jewish law.
According to Jewish law, does the ceremony have to be led by a rabbi?
In our organization, every ceremony is officiated by a rabbi or a certified halachic guide. However, according to Jewish law, the officiant doesn’t necessarily have to be a rabbi, but
can be any Jewish person who is knowledgeable in the detailed Jewish laws of the ceremony.
Are couples required to provide Chuppot with any documents?
Couples who apply to marry through Chuppot will be required to provide a photocopy of an identity card (teudat zehut), including the appendix, and a registration summary from the population registry.
Are couples required to sign agreements and documents in order to be married by Chuppot, and why?
Those who wish to hold a chuppah through us are required to sign an affidavit of the bride and groom (intended to prevent cases of bigamy and to ensure Halachic eligibility to marry); the prenuptial agreement “In Justice and In Fairness” (drafted by the Women’s Justice Center and intended to prevent refusal and extortion in the realm of a Jewish writ of divorce [get]); the document “Condition in Kiddushin’ (a halachic tool intended for use in extreme cases to prevent agunot and mamzerim); and finally an agreement with Chuppot to arrange a divorce properly in the event of a couple’s separation. The legal documents will be provided by Chuppot, and some require a signature before an attorney.
Do government authorities recognize the chuppot done through your organization?
Couples married by us will only be recognized under ‘common law’ status” and will be eligible for most rights given to married couples, but they will not be recognized as legally married.
Is there some way we can still marry through your organization and register with the government as legally married?
Yes, this is possible if the couple also gets married in a civil marriage ceremony outside of Israel and brings proof of this to the Interior Ministry. It is important to clarify that once a marriage is registered with the Interior Ministry – in the case of divorce the couple is legally required by the State to arrange a “get” – a halachic writ of divorce- through the religious courts of Official Rabbinate (even though the marriage was not registered with the Rabbinate).
We married through Chuppot, and we are now seeking to divorce. What should we do?
Our heart is with you. Please contact us as soon as possible, and we will explain how to arrange a divorce in accordance with Halakha (Jewish law).
Is there really a law that seeks to impose two years’ imprisonment for citizens who marry, or who perform marriage ceremonies, without registering with the Israeli Rabbinate?
Yes. The relevant legal reference appears in section 7 of the Marriage and Divorce Ordinance. It states: “Anyone who does not register their marriage or divorce, or who does not register the marriage or divorce that he performed for another, is subject to imprisonment for two years.”
How does the marriage officiant intend to deal with these legal restrictions?
There is no legal restriction to performing a chuppah according to the laws of Moses and Israel when the Rabbinate unjustly refuses to register their marriage. In the instances where the official Rabbinate would have agreed to register the marriage, we use a range of procedures to keep both the couple and the officiant away from criminal procedures, such as registration of a civil marriage with the Interior Ministry, a variety of agreements signed by the couples, the identity of the officiant and the witnesses, etc.
How was the legal position of the Chuppot initiative determined?
We receive legal counsel from the legal branch of “Itim” as it applies to the formulation of our policies as well as the formulation of the relevant documents and agreements between Chuppot and the couples. Itim’s legal department specializes in the relationship between the public and the State religious establishment, and has a long and impressive record of bringing needed change in the field of religion and state.
Why do you require couples to sign legal and halachic documents and agreements?
The Chuppot initiative is committed to acting responsibly towards the couples and towards the public, so we require the signing of affidavits and binding agreements that will prevent cases of extortion /divorce refusal, agunot, bigamy and mamzarut. The couples will be given full explanations of the meaning of the agreements, and will sign them before an attorney.
Are your activities done within the parameters of Jewish law?
Yes. All the Rabbinic activities of the Chuppot initiative are beholden to Jewish law and do not go beyond its boundaries.
What is the halachic line that the Chuppot initiative holds to?
A straight line. The officiants of the Chuppot initiative are Orthodox rabbis and female halachic advisors with a broad vision, who are beholden to Jewish law and act without deviation from it. They do not say forbidden on that which is permissible, and they do not say permissible on that which is forbidden.
With regard to the halachic issues relevant to issues of Chuppah and Kiddushin , the rabbis of the project seek solutions to problems, and not problems in solutions.
Do you recognize Orthodox conversions that were done outside of the official Rabbinate?
Absolutely. The Chuppot Initiative was founded first and foremost to provide an answer for those whom the official Rabbinate abuses and prevents, without justification, from registering for marriage in Israel. Men and women who have been converted through Rabbi Chaim Amsalem’s Ahavat HaGer (Love for the Convert), Giyur K’Halacha (Halachic Conversion), etc. – are Jews for all intents and purposes.
How does The Chuppot Initiative deal with the concern of mamzarut?
Before the chuppah is arranged the couple signs an agreement with us that requires them to arrange a divorce in a religious court in the event of a separation. According to the agreement, in the event of a separation there is a significant financial sanction against spouses who do not arrange a proper halachic divorce. In addition, Chuppot will maintain an orderly and transparent register of all the couples who perform a marriage ceremony through us.
Is the writing & signing of a Ketuba (traditional marriage agreement) an obligation?
Most definitely. Couples who marry through our initiative arrange a Ketuba with the traditional, accepted text – ‘Nachalat Shiva’ or the Sephardic text – with only the signature of witnesses, without the signature of the groom. There is, however, no obligation to read the Ketuba under the Chuppah (though we do minimally mention that a Ketubah has been signed according to Jewish law), and if the couple wishes, they can, in addition to the traditional Ketuba, write their own personal text with their own values that may be read under the Chuppah.
Does The Chuppot Initiative also provide a solution for LGBT couples?
Unlike private organizations and entities that hold weddings in the Jewish spirit, even for those who cannot marry according to Halacha – we officiate marriage ceremonies according to the Laws of Moses and Israel only. Every community deserves a solution, but our organization is a private Orthodox body, so despite our empathy for those who will not be able to hold a Chuppah through us, we will not be able to address all the couples that the state does not currently allow to marry – among them LGBT couples.
Is The Chuppot Initiative intended to harm the status of the Chief Rabbinate?
No. No one needs us to harm the Chief Rabbinate. The number one factor harming the status of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel is the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. We are witnessing a four percent decrease per year in the number of couples applying to the Rabbinate to marry under their auspices. The rabbis of our project are working to reduce and repair the damage caused by the Chief Rabbinate, and to help bring all of the couples that the Rabbinate distances from Judaism closer, and to keep them connected to tradition.
Does the use of legal and halachic agreements before the Chuppah harm the institution of marriage?
On the contrary. The oppression of women who are refused a get, and agunot living under the auspices of the current halachic policy of the Chief Rabbinate – this is what weakens the institution of marriage, and leads many couples in Israel to choose to live together without marrying according to Jewish law. The legal and halachic tools we use neutralize most couples’ fears about having a halachic Jewish wedding.
Is there a charge for the services of The Chuppot Initiative?
Yes there is. It is 1700 NIS.
This amount is intended to cover the cost of the process – the personal consultation and legal documents, finding the suitable match between the couple and Rabbi, printing the ketubah and the general work of the Rabbi who will officiate your Chuppah, including travel.
We are a non-for-profit organization.
It is important to us that the payment (which is to cover the cost) will not be a barrier to those who need us. If you cannot afford the full payment, contact us and we will examine together a way for you to marry through us without payment being the issue.
Those who wish to support our activity are invited to donate here, and in any case, please do not transfer money through the Rabbi’s. Their salary is included in the payment and is transferred through us in an orderly manner.
Why are there women who officiate for The Chuppot Initiative?
Why shouldn’t there be?! There is no halachic restriction that prevents women from holding a Chuppah according to the Laws of Moses and Israel, and in general we at Chuppot would be happy to see more integration of women in halachic and public positions in the provision of religious services.