You are Both (Wo)Men
The day your heart has so long dreamed of is now arriving:
You are marrying your beloved, and you want to share your joy with your closest friends and family.
It's time to plan the ceremony.
One or both of you are Jewish.
Your local Rabbi or the Cantor you grew up with may refuse to officiate at the ceremony.
Your parents may be concerned, perhaps even disapproving.
So whom should you turn to?
I am the celebrant you've been searching for.
Having worked with same-gender and|or interfaith couples for over 17 years,
I understand the issues involved.
My goal is not only to help you create the wedding of your dreams,
filled with personal meaning and memories,
but also to reach out to your families and friends,
who will become part of your new family circle.
Creative and Personal
In your wedding, I ensure that each of you feels well represented.
The special values that each of you most cherishes can be expressed through poetry, readings and songs.
Your core beliefs will be reflected in my words to you.
The weddings I perform are personal, intimate, and suffused with a gentle humor.
Each wedding ceremony, while using many of the traditional elements of a Jewish ceremony,
is unique to the couple that comes to me.
When you hire a cantor as your wedding officiant, you get two for one: someone who can provide music
as well as perform the rituals that you choose for your perfect ceremony.
I can set your favorite poem to music and perform it at any appropriate time between or during the rituals.
Here are some sample clips of songs from previous wedding ceremonies:
Listen to a sample of Camarada:
Listen to a sample of Circle Chant:
Listen to a sample of Full Circle:
You may choose to use Hebrew during your wedding ceremony or have it performed entirely in English.
If you find that some of the traditional religious formulations don't really speak to your hearts,
I can offer you contemporary forms of blessings that might conform better to your modern-day beliefs.
For instance, the blessing over wine could be the traditional
בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
"Borey pri hagafen", or
"We give thanks to the source of life for creating the fruit of the vine," or
"We bless this celebration with the fruit of the vine."
The Way I Work
Getting to know a couple beforehand is very important to me.
To that end, I like to have an initial meeting to see if we are a good match.
If we are, then I try to meet with you as many times as we can fit into our schedules,
and I try to find out as much about you as I can.
What is it that brings the two of you together?
What is unique about your connection?
How did you meet?
What are some of the things that you share and enjoy doing together?
The more that I get to know you,
the more authentic and heartfelt will be the words that I say to you during your wedding ceremony.
If you live outside Northern California, we can correspond by e-mail and telephone.
I have had clients from as far away as Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and New York.
Welcoming Your Guests
Many elements of Jewish ritual carry universal meanings that will resonate with all your guests.
This will not only make your guests feel welcome, but allow them to feel like an essential part of the ceremony.
By virtue of their presence their role is not only to celebrate with you, but to be your witnesses and to bestow blessings upon you.
If you wish, I can invite your friends and family to participate in the ceremony
by having them read or sing poems, songs, or other texts that are meaningful to them,
either of their own choosing or provided by me.
A Sample Ceremony
Here are some of the elements that you might choose as part of your ceremony.
In addition, you may want to include traditions from other cultures that you are connected with,
such as 'jumping the broom' or lighting a Unity Candle, etc.
- Processional - to music of your own choosing, perhaps written by me
- Chuppah - the wedding canopy
- Circling - going around each other seven times
- Kiddush - the blessing over wine
- Story - I or someone else telling a little bit about you
- Ketubah - signing and displaying the prenuptial contract
- Vows - traditional vows or personal ones you write yourselves or suggested by me
- Ring Exchange
- Seven Blessings - traditional or completely creative, some perhaps recited by friends and family
- Proclamation - presenting the married couple
- Breaking the Glass - by one or both of you
I have been performing creative customized wedding ceremonies since 1989.
My parallel careers as a cantor, marriage counselor, songwriter, musical director, and performer
not only give me all the skills necessary to plan and perform your wedding,
but give me a uniquely all-embracing viewpoint of all the elements that go into a wedding
to ensure that your ceremony will be both successful and truly extraordinary.
I have been working as a cantor for over 25 years and have held my current position at Temple Beth Sholom in San Leandro for 17 years,
where in addition to my regular cantorial duties, I train bar- and bat-mitzvah students
and conduct the chorus and orchestra, for which I also compose and arrange music.
Through my practice as a marriage and family counselor in California since 1974,
I have acquired a wealth of experience which has often proved invaluable in dealing with any premarital issues
that may arise during the planning of wedding ceremonies.
In addition, I direct the internationally renowned women's a cappella quintet Vocolot
and have a long career as a singer-songwriter.
To date, I have released seven recordings and two songbooks of original compositions and arrangements.
You can reach me by telephone at 510.654.0799 or by e-mail at lindalindahirschhorn.com
Through long experience I am aware of all the details and elements
that go into the planning of a wedding ceremony.
I can review these with you.
On the day of the wedding I oversee the logistics with your wedding coordinator
so that you don't have to and the the ceremony goes as smoothly as you can imagine.
I charge a flat fee that includes everything that we do together:
all the meetings, creating your ceremony, and actually performing your wedding ceremony.
It doesn't matter how often we meet or for how long.
Everything is covered in the onetime fee.
This fee is negotiable and on a sliding scale based on your personal circumstances.