Would you like to organize a Jewish wedding in Tuscany? Then you are probably wondering which documents are required? Or maybe you want to get married in the most beautiful Synagogue in Italy? And you are certainly curious how the Jewish wedding ceremony is performed here. Don’t worry, you will find all the answers for your Jewish ceremony in Italy right here.
The paperwork may vary in different cities and across different streams, but this is what Italian synagogues usually ask in order to perform the Jewish wedding ceremony:
1. All of the synagogues in Italy are Orthodox, this is why you will need to receive permission from an Orthodox rabbi in your home country first. You will need a letter from your Rabbi stating that you and your fiancée are both Jewish and are not currently married (Theudat Ravakut and Yahadut).
2. If you want a civil wedding in addition to the Jewish one, you must also provide an official marriage clearance called “nulla osta” – properly translated and legalized in your country. You may need other documents as well.
3. In addition to these documents, the groom will have to purchase a ring for the bride. Before the wedding takes place, a letter signed by the couple concerning their marital economic agreement has to be deposited by the rabbi.
If you wish, The Synagogue can provide a printed Ketubah (the wedding agreement), the Chuppah – a canopy under which the couple stands during the ceremony, a silver glass for the blessing during the Kiddush, and a glass to be broken at the end of the ceremony or we can choose the ones you like with florists and other vendors.
Now let’s discover more about the Jewish wedding ceremony in Italian synagogues.
Are you curious about how Jewish wedding ceremonies are performed in Italy? As you already know, traditions may vary in the different Jewish streams: Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, or Reconstructionist. But generally, this is what happens during the ceremony:
All Synagogues have a beautiful mikvè where the bride can achieve ritual purity and celebrate with her family and girlfriends. If the bride had it in her home country, she should provide a certificate, dated not more than four days before the wedding ceremony.
During the ceremony, women and men sit separately on either side of the Bimah (the elevated platform).
The Chuppah is normally set up in the space in front of the Aron Ha-kodesh – the ornamental chamber that hosts the Torah scrolls.
The ceremony, normally lasting for an hour or so, follows the local custom and is performed in Hebrew. Any changes to it must be approved by the Chief Rabbi.
The groom will need to learn by heart the phrases he will say during the ceremony declaring his intention to consecrate his bride for him according to the laws of Moses and Israel.
The witnesses, one for the bride and one for the groom, must be shomerei mitzvoth – people who observe the commandments.
Main Synagogues, like the one in Florence or Rome, can organize the Kiddush or the Kosher Kiddush in their beautiful gardens if the weather allows it.
Now let’s learn more about Italian Synagogues!
The most important Italian cities, as well as some of the smallest, do have Synagogues that will be happy to host your Jewish wedding. Some of the most beautiful are:
– Great Synagogue of Florence – the most important in Tuscany, this majestic synagogue with characteristic blue and red arabesques will delight your guests and family. The community of Florence is following the Sephardic minhag, but another minhag is possible too.
– Pitigliano – this small and romantic town in Tuscany, known as Little Jerusalem, hosts a charming synagogue dating back to 1598. It is ideal for those who want an intimate ceremony.
– Rome Synagogue – Built in pure Art Nouveau style, it is unique not only for its architecture but also for the Roman rite that is celebrated there and which is truly unique.
– Casale Monferrato – this small XVI century Baroque synagogue in Piedmont has a beautifully decorated interior that will make your wedding sophisticated and luxurious.
– Venice has hosted many Jewish communities: Ashkenazi, Italian, Sephardic, etc. This is the reason why it has 5 synagogues. The ones regularly open to the ritual and not transformed in a museum are alternately the two Sephardic ones: in the cold period is active the baroque Levantine and in the hot period the imponent Spanish.
– Naples has a Synagogue built in 1864 on the site of another, more ancient one. Its sober interior is perfect if you don’t like ornaments and prefer minimalism.
– Trieste Synagogue was inaugurated in 1912 and it is one of the biggest in Europe. Different architectural styles have successfully blended into it, from the four powerful marble pillars to the imposing central dome.
– Turin Synagogue is not where it was first supposed to be. The main monument of the city – Mole Antonelliana – was originally the project of the first synagogue, that eventually became too expensive to the community, so they sold it and built a smaller one, inaugurated in 1884. It was partially destroyed during WW2 and built again in 1949. The main Temple, now too big for the community, is used only for big events, like weddings.
There are dozens more, from the rests of the ancient Synagogue in Ostia, where you can get married among precious mosaics and marble columns, to the modern interiors of Genova synagogue with stained glass windows inaugurated in 1935.
What if you don’t want to get married in a Synagogue? No problem! The Rabbi can celebrate a Jewish wedding in a gorgeous venue, like a private villa or castle as well.
Imagine having your wedding ceremony under your own chuppah, made by the best Italian florists and craftsmen in an amazing Italian garden overlooking the olive trees and the rolling hills! We can make your dream come true!
If you are from a Reform background, you can have a Reform Rabbi celebrating your wedding in any private location you want. This way, you also have less paperwork to do, no authorization from the Rabbi in your home country is required in this case.
Would you like to have your Jewish wedding ceremony in Tuscany?
Contact me and I will be happy to help you organize a unique and memorable event where you will feel pampered and taken care of and that your family and friends will cherish for years!
Mazel tov and see you in Italy!