Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. I craft and officiate at very personalized weddings for all couples, Jewish, interfaith and same sex. I have decades of experience training and officiating at bar and bat mitzvahs for students of all ages. I create very personalized and meaningful funerals, memorial services, shiva minyans and unveilings. I have officiated at baby namings, bris ceremonies and taught a variety of topics. Please call me to assist you in whatever needs you might have.
Q. Describe three recent jobs you've completed.
A. Most recently I created and officiated at an interfaith same sex wedding in Santa Ynez, CA and officiated at two funerals in Thousand Oaks. I have officiated at many dozens of weddings, funerals and life cycle events.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Meet with the Rabbi and discuss your needs. Not all rabbis will officiate or co-officiate at interfaith or same sex weddings. I am comfortable either as solo or joint clergy in any house of worship or other venue. I don't charge more for interfaith and same sex weddings than I charge for Jewish weddings. Whomever you choose, make sure you are comfortable working with them.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Experience is important. I was the leader of an independent conservative congregation in Torrance for nine years and have worked with congregants in every aspect of life from births to terminal illness and funerals. I have done animal appreciation services where all manner of pets and service animals attended as well as a special blessing and ride for bicyclists and motorcyclists. I love Judaism, particularly the High Holy Days which teach us to make the most of each day of life. I also enjoy studying about other religions and participating in community interfaith events and discussions. My ordaining Rebbe's motto was "The truth is one but the paths are many. Never 'instead of', always 'in addition to'", which I have always tried to live by. Nobody wants to be just tolerated, but rather to be welcomed, respected and loved for our diversity. I have a Bachelor's degree in Hebrew literature as well as Rabbinic ordination. i love teaching and have been working with students for over 30 years. I make sure to always translate anything said in Hebrew to English and to explain why we do each element of the ceremony. I consistently get very positive feedback from both Jews and non-Jews for meaningful and understandable services and ceremonies. Your special day should reflect what is important to YOU. i routinely include readings and poems from other cultures and religions to reflect what is most important to you.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. I always strive to make my ceremonies very personal and customized. I can blend readings and rituals from many diverse religious and cultural traditions. Where I am asked to follow Jewish rituals I always have both Jews and non Jews telling me that my explanations of why things are done is unique. I never use Hebrew without translating what is being said into English. I am welcoming to all and open to all suggestions and ideas.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I enjoy making every event special and treating people from all backgrounds and beliefs with respect and kindness. It is very satisfying to hear from Jews and non-Jews that for the first time they truly understood the reason and meaning for the different components of weddings, funerals ad other events. Working with individuals and families to make their event visions come true is truly pleasureable.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. Years ago I married a couple where the groom was born and raised in the United States and the bride was from Tunisia. It was a fun wedding as I could integrate elements from each culture. During the ceremony, which was outdoors, a large fly divebombed into the kiddush cup of wine with a splash. While waiting for replacement wine (I now ask couples to cover their cups outdoors with foil or cling wrap) I learned that in Tunisia a fly is a symbol of evil forces and the bride's family was very concerned about this event. I explained to the attendees that in Palos Verdes a fly is simply another guest wanting to join the party and was greatly enjoying the sweet wine! The couple has been married for years and no evil came about as a result of the drunk fly.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. Generally for customized weddings and funerals I request an honorarium of $300 - $500 plus any travel/hotel expenses if more than 140 miles from Torrance, CA.
For Bar and Bat Mitzvah preparation I request $50 per hour for working with a student and $500 to officiate at the ceremony.
For baby namings and memorial stone unveilings I request $250 plus any travel/hotel expenses if more than 140 miles from Torrance.
I am willing to co-officiate with other clergy and to officiate in any house of worship, hotel, or other venue or setting, indoors or outdoors.
in case of severe economic hardship please speak with me. I do not charge more for interfaith or same sex weddings and events than I do for standard Jewish services. Your satisfaction and good memories are my goal. I always customize services to meet your needs and will not reject your ideas, (although I dont jump out of perfectly good airplanes or swim with sharks!).