An offer I couldn’t refuse…

When I was sixteen, three things happened. Well, many things happened, but three of them are pertinent to this story.

First, I decided that I wanted to become a rabbi. Second, I met my best friend Sarah. Third, my aforementioned best friend met her beshert Ari.

The three of us all met at URJ Kutz Camp, where we were all attending Mechina, the pre-summer leadership training weekend for NFTY regional board members.  Sarah and Ari’s relationship is their own story to tell, but suffice it to say that I was blessed enough to be a part of both of their lives throughout the ten (yep, ten) years of courtship that followed.

So when Sarah called me late in 2011 and asked if I would be willing to officiate at their wedding, you would think I would have answered without hesitation. What an honor! What a privilege! What a…wait a second. Does an officiating rabbi get to wear a pretty dress?

It might sound like a silly question, but here’s the thing: one lesson I am learning about becoming a rabbi (and luckily, I still have four more years of school + a lifetime to work on this) is that once you are a rabbi, you are no longer NOT a rabbi. And I had always wanted to be a bridesmaid at my best friend’s wedding.

In the 3rd year of rabbinic school, we take a class titled Pastoral Counseling, during which we learn about “dual relationships” –  or so I am told – I only just started the class this past Tuesday. I am fairly sure that this is what the experts are talking about when they say “dual relationship”.

Now, of course I said I would help officiate*, but in my perhaps selfish desire to be more than “just” the rabbi, I also took the opportunity (after being offered, of course!) to be a bridesmaid.

Which is how I ended up standing awkwardly at a sound booth last Sunday, just prior to the ceremony, with a bewildered AV guy attempting to find any piece of clothing that would enable him to attach a hands-free mic to my person.

What he found was a bridesmaid dress.
A very pretty light grey bridesmaid dress.
A strapless bridesmaid dress.

In my non-experience with these things (this being my first wedding and all), I had not even considered a hands-free mic.

Whoops.

Luckily** we managed to attach the mic and cover the battery pack with my tallit.
Crisis averted, I walked down the aisle and took my place under the chuppah alongside Rabbi Paul Kipnes.

And when Sarah walked down that aisle to meet Ari under that chuppah and I was there waiting to guide them through their ceremony, there is absolutely no place I would rather have been.

But next time, I probably won’t wear a strapless dress.

____________________

Dusty Klass is a third year rabbinic student at HUC-LA and can’t wait to wear a blazer during the next wedding at which she co-officiates.

____________________

* Within the proper Hebrew Union College protocol of including an ordained rabbi to co-officiate with me!
** And in no small part thanks to the level-headedness of Rabbi Paul Kipnes, my co-officiating rabbi, who mentored me through this whole process

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4 thoughts on “An offer I couldn’t refuse…

  1. Dusty navigated this and the other potentially awkward dual relationship challenges with class and confidence. I would be very interested in learning about other such challenges so that we men can help mentor, when need be and where appropriate, our female colleagues thru such minefields.

  2. I had a similar experience at my own sister’s wedding. I wanted to wear a “party dress” but at the same time had to look “rabbinic.” Thanks to the pretty little jacket/blazer I wore over my dress I looked appropriate. I wore it for the ceremony and then threw it aside for the celebration. Even better though was the question asked of one of the groom’s family members, “Why is the rabbi crying so much?”

    Yasher koach Dusty… and Paul. May there be many, many more happy moments like this.

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