Mazal Tov on your upcoming wedding in Israel! While you are still abroad, ITIM can help you complete the paperwork involved in registering to be married here. If you fax or (preferably) email us copies of the necessary documents at least 3 months before the date of your wedding, we can open a file for you at the Marriage Division of the Efrat Religious council. After their pre-approval, all you’ll have to do is visit our office in Jerusalem just before the wedding to present the originals of your documents and sign your application. We will then give you your ketuba, and your registration is done!
For us to have your application pre-approved, we’ll need copies of the documents listed below. (Save the originals and bring them with you to Israel before the wedding, so that you’ll be able to present them at the Rabbinate.)
1. If you want a particular rabbi to officiate, please send a copy of his ordination certificate, which we will submit to the Rabbinate for approval. After he is approved, we will send you a Rabbi’s Consent Form for him to sign and return.
2. A page showing the photo and i.d./foreign passport number of the bride’s and the groom’s תעודת זהות (for Israeli citizens) or passport (if not an Israeli citizen).
3. ITIM’s “Personal Status Questionnaires,” one for the bride and one for the groom.
4. An ishur yahadut, a document certifying Jewish identity, and an ishur ravakut, a document certifying single status, for the bride and groom. These documents are to be written on official stationery by a recognized Orthodox rabbi or (preferably) by an Orthodox Beth Din [rabbinic court]. If appropriate, these two ishurim may be combined into one document.
The ishur ravakut cannot be dated earlier than 90 days prior to the wedding.
Important note: If the bride is a convert, a divorcee, or was born to a non-Jewish father, the groom’s ishur ravakut must also state that he is not a kohen [descendant of the ancient priestly families]. If the groom is a kohen, the bride’s ishur ravakut must state that she has not been divorced and that she was born to a Jewish father and Jewish mother.
5. If either the bride or groom converted to Judaism, was adopted, or was previously legally married in a religious or civil ceremony, send all official documents – civil as well as religious.
6. If any of the bride’s or groom’s parents converted to Judaism, we will need copies of the parent’s conversion certificate.
7. The ketubot (Jewish marriage contracts) from parents of both the bride and the groom. If either ketubah is not available, simply make a note of that.
8. As part of the marriage process, the bride is expected to study the Jewish laws of family purity with an Orthodox instructor. Please send a letter from the instructor, written on official stationary, certifying that the bride has undergone this process.
Points of Note:
• If the bride was divorced or converted, she will have to wait 90 days before the wedding can take place.
• If the bride or groom is an Israeli citizen, they have to make sure their registration at the Ministry of Interior is updated (Jewish, Married, Divorced etc.).
• The Rabbinate will not approve a chuppah that is held in a hall without the Rabbinate’s Kashrut certification, or that is open on Shabbat. We will contact the hall and ask for this certificate.
The only mandatory cost is the 700 NIS registration fee charged by the Rabbinate for all couples (Israeli as well as foreign residents).
Payment you may choose to make to the m’sader kiddushin [officiating rabbi] is not included in the registration fee.
A donation to ITIM:
As a not-for-profit organization ITIM, advises thousands of individuals facing the political/religious establishment in Israel – occasionally during happy occasions, like your wedding, and often, at difficult times like funerals, divorce, and complicated conversions. The vast majority of those individuals cannot afford the expert counsel they often need. We advise them free of charge. We hope you will view a donation to ITIM of $250 or more as part of the overall cost of your wedding. If so, you will be helping us so that we can help others in their times of crisis, and we will be most grateful. Donations to ITIM are tax-deductible in the United States and the United Kingdom.
To make a tax-deductible donation, please visit our website, www.itim.org.il.
1. ITIM, like many organizations in Israel and abroad, recommends a halachic [Jewish legal] prenuptial agreement (PNA) for all couples about to be married. We suggest that you speak to a qualified rabbi in your home community about a PNA appropriate for you.
The Beth Din of America has a website (www.theprenup.org) with important information for American residents on this topic. U.K. residents may contact Rabbi J Shindler (email@example.com) for advice on a PNA valid in the United Kingdom.
2. Two things we will not be able to do for you:
a) ITIM cannot be responsible for your m’sadder kiddushin’s returning the copy of your ketubah to the Rabbinate office after the ceremony. The Rabbinate needs that copy in order to process your official Marriage Certificate. It is the responsibility of the officiating rabbi to return it to them within one week of the wedding.
b) ITIM cannot be responsible for what foreign governments may demand concerning translation and/or authorization of your Marriage Certificate. We will mail you your official Israel Government Marriage Certificate after the wedding, but please note that it will be in Hebrew. We suggest you contact an attorney near your home or the nearest Israeli Consulate, and ask to whom you should turn for an official translation and/or authorization when your Certificate arrives. (We have been told that U.K. residents can have their Certificate translated by the London Beth Din, Tel: 020 8343 6270.)
3. Residents of the United States who have trouble securing the ishur yahadut or ishur v’ravakut (item 5 on page 1) are advised to call the Beth Din of America: (212) 807-9042.
U.K. residents may contact the London Beth Din: 020 8343 6270.
Those organizations are experts in determining eligibility for an ishur yahadut or ravakut, and an ishur from them will almost always be accepted by the Israeli Rabbinate.
4. If you would like to purchase your own ketubah, please consult your m’sader kiddushin before purchasing anything that differs from the Jerusalem Religious Council’s standard ketubah.
5. We have had a number of cases in which Israeli citizens who were married in civil ceremonies abroad asked our help to register a Jewish wedding in Israel. That can be arranged. But please be aware that as an arm of the government of the State of Israel, the Jerusalem Rabbinate can only register weddings for an Israeli citizen if the citizen’s status is accurately registered in the Ministry of the Interior. If an Israeli citizen was married in a legal ceremony abroad, he must change his/her personal status at an Israeli Consulate to reflect his/her now being married, before the Jerusalem Rabbinate will approve a wedding in Israel. Changing one’s status can take months, so one is advised to begin the process long before we begin to register his/her wedding in Israel.