Judaism is interested in preserving the sanctity and distinctiveness of the Jewish people. In order to become a part of the Jewish people, one must therefore freely choose to do so—through halachic conversion, and not through marriage. Marriage laws in Israel are in accordance with Jewish law; thus, there are couples that are ineligible for marriage. If you fall into such a category, the rabbinate will inform you of such when you come to register. If you get married abroad and return to Israel, you will be registered as married in the population registry.
The following couples are not eligible for registration:
Jews marrying non-Jews: A Jew cannot marry a Christian, Muslim, Druze, or a someone with no religious affiliation. The only resolution to such a situation is proof of Jewish identity (if it was in doubt) or conversion (if the partner was not Jewish).
Kohanim marrying divorcees, converts, a widow who performed chalitzah, or the offspring of a non-recognized marriage. The daughter of a Kohan may marry a divorcee or convert. Many families of Kohanim have identifiable last names, such as Cohen, Kahn, Azulai, Katz, and Kaplan. Not every person with such a last name, however, is necessarily a Kohen, and not every Kohen will have an identifiable last name. Such a situation can sometimes be resolved by casting doubt on the priestly lineage of the groom (by researching the family line), and in the case of a divorcee, by questioning the validity of her first marriage (and thus, her status as a divorcee).
Mamzer with a non-Mamzer: The children of a Jewish woman who were conceived from one Jew while she was married (religiously or civilly) to another Jew are considered mamzers, or potential-mamzers. They and their offspring can only marry other mamzers or converts for several generations. The offspring of forbidden (incestuous) intimate relationships are also considered mamzers. This situation can sometimes be solved by casting doubt on the mother’s marriage to her husband (who was not the child’s father) or on the paternity of the child. For assistance, visit our website or contact our hotline.
Same sex couples.
Temporary restrictions: A divorcee may not remarry within 92 days of her official divorce. A bride who is pregnant with a child other than the groom’s can marry the groom only a few months-two years after she gives birth (the precise waiting time is determined by the rabbinic court, and is dependant on when the baby stops nursing).
If you are in this category, the rabbinate may try to help with a solution.
For more information, contact us: 1-700-500-507.