Synagogue to hold first single-sex wedding


When Paul Ginsberg and Eli Kaufman step under the chupah at Finchley Reform Synagogue on Sunday, they could be making history.

The couple are thought to be the first to have a same-sex Jewish wedding in a synagogue in this country.

Mr Ginsberg, 35, who works at the Royal Society of Arts, met Mr Kaufman, 32, an operations manager at a driving performance centre, who is originally from Israel, three years ago.

"We felt now is the right time to get married," Mr Ginsberg said.

Finchley was "a wonderful synagogue whose community have taken us to their hearts irrespective of our sexuality," he said. "Us being gay isn't an issue there. We are accepted for who we are and we can participate in the community in a way that we feel very comfortable with."

He added: "To us, it was important to have a religious ceremony as we are Jews, proud of our heritage. Although our wedding ceremony will largely be the same as other marrying couples, it is an important statement for society too."

He paid tribute to the late Rabbi Sheila Shulman, one of the first openly lesbian rabbis in the UK, as well as the "many others who fought for us to be here".

Finchley Reform's Rabbi Miriam Berger described Mr Ginsberg and Mr Kaufman as "a wonderful couple at the heart of the FRS community".

She said: "Their aufruf last weekend and their wedding is no different to any other involved couple getting married in their own shul. The whole community is thrilled for them and many are coming to join in their celebrations."

The lack of any discussion or discomfort, she said, "simply highlights the total equality same-sex couples have at FRS and across the Reform movement."

Liberal and Reform rabbis have conducted ceremonies for same-sex partners for a number of years, but it is only since March that they could be counted as marriage under new legislation.

A civil marriage was held earlier this year in the hall of West London Synagogue, while a male couple had a Jewish wedding under its auspices in an outside venue.

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