Only a very small percentage of the cost of the wedding is connected to the traditional ceremony itself.
Payment for registration
Registration for marriage involves a fee of NIS 600 (as of July 2012). If the bride and groom live in separate towns, there is an additional fee of NIS 135 (as of July 2012) for a document certifying one’s unmarried status. Students, soldiers on active duty, National Service personnel, new immigrants and persons on welfare are entitled to a discount of up to 40%. You will need to pay the fee in cash on your first visit to the Rabbinate. The fee covers the administration of your file, study with a rabbi and/or rebbetzin on the laws of family purity, a rabbi’s officiating at the ceremony, and the issuing of the marriage certificate (in duplicate) after the wedding. There is no discount if you choose not to use any of these services (e.g., if you have your own rabbi officiate). If during the course of registration you are sent to a rabbinical court to verify your eligibility to marry, you will need to pay an additional fee. Such verification carried out within eighteen months of one’s immigration, however, is free of charge.
Fees in the Local Rabbinical Court
All inquiries in the Rabbinical Court are subject to a fee for opening a file (NIS 242, as of January 2013). Requests for a discount or to waive the fee altogether should be submitted separately to the Rabbinical Court’s administrative office before the deliberations begin.
In the case of a referral by the local marriage registrar for clarification of Jewish staus, the proceedings in the Rabbinical Court are free of charge. In certain instances, the Rabbinical Court may refer a request for confirmation of Jewish status to an external investigator for examination and assessment, and the applicant will be charged a fee for the investigator’s professional services and expenses at a rate predetermined by the Rabbinical Court.
For clarification regarding fees associated with marriage or other proceedings in the Rabbinical Court, please see ITIM’s website or call us: 1-700-500-507.
Payment to the officiating rabbi
The rabbinate does not publish a recommended rate of payment to the officiating rabbi, so the amount depends on you, and varies from wedding to wedding. This “free market” has the potential to make you very uncomfortable, and cause a disparity between your expectations and those of the officiating rabbi.
It is advisable to take into account the following factors:
A rabbi who is salaried by the religious council or local or communal rabbinate is a public servant, and officiating at weddings is one of his responsibilities. Though it has become customary to pay these rabbis between 400-1500 NIS (and sometimes much more), these payments are illegal. The directives of the Justice Ministry establish that, “rabbis who are officiating at weddings as part of their public duties, may not receive for this service any payment at all.” Resolve this issue with your rabbi from the outset, so that everyone’s expectations are met.
A rabbi who is not is salaried by the religious council or local or communal rabbinate (a family friend or former teacher) or who works in a different city, is officiating at your wedding on a private basis and you can agree on any sum that is acceptable to both of you.
If you prefer, you can give the Rabbi a present, instead of cash.
If you would like to avoid the cost of an officiating rabbi, you can choose a rabbi from one of the amutot that deals in this area, whose details appear at the end of this booklet.
It is appropriate to reimburse the rabbi, even if he does not request it, for his travel expenses, or to personally arrange a ride for him with a friend or taxi service. If the rabbi is bringing witnesses, you should also cover their travel expenses.
In general, if the rabbi is not a relative or family friend, he will not stay for the meal, and there is no need to order a meal for him. You should, however, verify this with your rabbi.