Want to get mar­ried? You just have to click

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY NATHAN JEFFAY

A NEW ser­vice al­lows di­as­pora Jews who want to marry in Is­rael to or­gan­ise their mar­riage li­cence on­line.

Thou­sands of Jews fly to Is­rael to get mar­ried ev­ery year, but they have long been daunted by the bu­reau­cracy of ap­ply­ing for a mar­riage li­cence from Is­rael’s rab­binate.

Over the years many have given up and cir­cum­vented the Is­raeli rab­binate, bring­ing their own rabbi from abroad and reg­is­ter­ing the mar­riage back home. But given that Is­rael law states that mar­riages can only be per­formed by the na­tional rab­binate, this has been seen as legally prob­lem­atic.

Un­til two years ago, cou­ples who wanted to do things ac­cord­ing to the book had to make a trip to Is­rael a month be­fore the wed­ding to reg­is­ter, and nav­i­gate the forms in He­brew. But then ITIM, a Jerusalem-based non-profit group, started do­ing all the prepara­tory work for for­eign­ers, and went on to help 200 di­as­pora cou­ples to marry.

Now, the mod­ern Ortho­dox ITIM has digi­tised the process, mean­ing that cou­ples just need to re­quest a form through its web­site, fill it in, and scan some sup­port­ing doc­u­ments which pro­fes­sion­als in Is­rael trans­late to He­brew. The or­gan­i­sa­tion sets up the li­cence and re­cruits an English-speak­ing rabbi in Is­rael.

The cou­ple can ar­rive in Is­rael just be­fore their wed­ding, only need­ing to visit the rab­binate’s of­fice to show their orig­i­nal doc­u­ments and sign pa­per­work. The only costs are the rab­binate’s fees of around £100 and a rec­om­mended do­na­tion to ITIM of £150.

“We were in and out of the rab­binate’s of­fice in 10 to 15 min­utes, and I have heard that it can take hours,” said Lon­doner Guy Kor­net­zki, who was due to tie the knot with his bride Ilana on April 5, near Tel Aviv. He said that ITIM’S ser­vice was a “lifesaver”.

ITIM’S di­rec­tor, Seth Far­ber, said the op­tion of reg­is­ter­ing the mar­riage back home was not only legally prob­lem­atic but also costly, as a rabbi must be flown to Is­rael, and un­suit­able for cou­ples with­out close ties to a rabbi. His or­gan­i­sa­tion finds cou­ples an English-speak­ing Is­raeli rabbi. For cou­ples who want their own rabbi to of­fi­ci­ate, ITIM ar­ranges for him to act as an agent of the Is­raeli rab­binate.

Rabbi Far­ber com­mented: “It is very spe­cial… that cou­ples can eas­ily come and not just cel­e­brate here, but also of­fi­ci­ate their mar­riage ac­cord­ing to Is­raeli law.”

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