Today we’d like to introduce you to David Gruber.
David,, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In 2008, I co-founded Interfaith Wedding Rabbi, with my wife Liat. I deeply believe in helping every couple make the most out of the most wonderful day of their lives. I have officiated over 325 weddings (currently about 45 each year). I travel anywhere a couple needs me to go (in the U.S. or abroad) to officiate at their interfaith wedding, and help make their special day truly wonderful.
I am a native of Evanston, Illinois, and an eighth-generation rabbi. I grew up in Israel, where I served as a tank gunner in the IDF Armored Corps, attended Yeshivat Sha’alvim, one of the most prominent institutions of higher Jewish learning in Israel, for seven years, and received my rabbinic ordination from the Chief Rabbis of Israel. I hold a B.A. in History from Thomas Edison State College, and an M.S. in Educational Leadership from Walden University.
I have served in religious, educational and communal leadership positions on three continents since my teens, specifically in Israel, New Zealand and the United States. I currently serve as the Development and Communications Director of the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA).
The reason Liat and I founded Interfaith Wedding Rabbi is that we saw a true need that was not being met. Most rabbis will not officiate at an interfaith wedding, and most of the minority of rabbis who will, attach various conditions to such officiating. I, however, will gladly officiate at Jewish, interfaith or non-traditional wedding ceremony, no ifs, buts or maybes! I will happily co-officiate with non-Jewish clergy, officiate on Friday night or on Saturday, and I leave child rearing decisions to the couple.
I have officiated weddings in or for couples from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Saint Martin, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the Virgin Islands.
I have always seen myself, first and foremost, as a learner. I love working with my couples, and I feel like I learn so much from them! In fact, my personal remarks at every wedding focus on what I learned from that specific couple.
Having lived, since my return to the United States, in Overland Park, Kansas, Toledo, Ohio and Dallas, Texas, I now live in beautiful Frisco, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I have learned so much in the last nine years! One interesting challenge was that some couples wanted part or all of their wedding in Spanish. I took two night courses at Collin College, in Plano, Texas, and I learned how to read Spanish. Since then I have done numerous weddings with some Spanish, and five or six entirely in Spanish. It is a lot of fun, because it is such a beautiful language!
So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Interfaith Wedding Rabbi story. Tell us more about the business.
My philosophy is simple: It is the couple’s ceremony, so we build it around the couple and with the couple. After the ceremony, every single person attending, should be able to say (regardless of background, culture, faith or lack thereof):
* I understood everything, because everything was explained;
* Not only did I understand everything, I felt welcome, comfortable, and validated, because everything was explained in an inclusive manner;
* I could tell that the officiant had taken the time to get to know the couple, and the ceremony reflected that;
* That was one of the best ceremonies ever; I am ready to party!
Halacha, or Jewish Law, bans interfaith marriage, and does not recognize such marriages as valid. Therefore, all Orthodox and Conservative rabbis, who with certain differences recognize the binding authority of Halacha, refrain from officiating at interfaith marriages. Most Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis, even though their movements do not recognize the binding authority of Halacha, defer to it on this issue. Some Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis will officiate at interfaith weddings, though most of these rabbis will attach conditions to such officiating.
Most rabbis who will officiate at interfaith weddings attach one or more conditions to such officiating, such as not officiating on the Sabbath, not co-officiating with non-Jewish clergy, and/or not officiating unless the couple agrees to raise their children as Jewish. Almost all rabbis who will officiate at interfaith weddings will not officiate in a church or allow any mention of Jesus in the ceremony.
I am different! I have one condition only – do you love each other? If the answer to that is yes, we are good to go! I will gladly officiate at a couple’s interfaith wedding, no ifs, buts or maybes! I will happily co-officiate with non-Jewish clergy, officiate on Friday night or on Saturday, and I leave child rearing decisions to the couple. I am honored to officiate at any location, including a church. I am comfortable using theistic or non-theistic language, and I will not dictate to a couple or the other officiant what he or she can and cannot mention when it comes to God’s name.
Typically, family and friends to tell couples I officiate for that their ceremony was one of the most beautiful ones they ever witnessed. What can one ask for more than that?
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I firmly believe that hard as we work, luck plays a role. I feel tremendously lucky to have worked with so many wonderful couples, traveled to so many beautiful locations, and met fabulous wedding professionals.
- Website: http://www.interfaithweddingrabbi.net/
- Phone: 469-222-0047
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1) Drake Studio – http://www.itsdrakestudio.com/
2) Heart Box Weddings – http://www.heartboxweddings.com/
3) Leslie Ann Photography – http://www.leslieannphotography.com/
4) Adventure Photos – http://www.adventures-photos.com/
5) Joseph Mark – http://www.josephmark.com/