Monique Susskind Goldberg
Is it true that only an Orthodox rabbi can perform the marriage ceremony in Israel? In other words, neither civil ceremonies nor those ceremonies officiated by rabbis of other Jewish denominations are legal?
It is true that according to Israeli law, every wedding between Jews has to be performed under the jurisdiction of the Rabbinate which is Orthodox. It means that in Israel only couples who are married by an Orthodox Rabbi, who has received the right to perform a wedding by the Rabbinate, are officially registered as married. But, if a Jewish couple comes from abroad already married (their passport showing that they are married), Israel's Ministry of the Interior is requested to register them as married. So couples in Israel who want to have a Conservative or a Reform ceremony, and want to be officially registered as married in the government's registry, go abroad, marry civilly, register as married, and then return to Israel and have the marriage ceremony of their choice. It's a little complicated and convoluted, but that's the reality!