Along with celebrating the birth of a child, marriage
is the most joyous of all events in the Jewish life cycle.
Marriage is considered to be a sacrament. Accordingly,
various rituals, customs, and laws concerning marriage
are observed by Jewish people.
A Jewish marriage must be performed by a rabbi.
You should try to secure the services of a Jewish
chaplain for premarriage counseling as well as for the
performance of the marriage ceremony. You should
understand that many rabbis will not officiate at a
marriage between a Jew and a non-Jew. Many conflicts
concerning interfaith marriages between Jews and
non-Jews have had serious effects on the Jewish
community. Whenever rabbis refuse to officiate at
interfaith marriages, their position should be defended
unquestionably. If you are asked about the religious
legitimacy or appropriateness of an interfaith marriage
involving Jewish persons, refer the persons to a Jewish
chaplain or a civilian rabbi. A rabbi not having a
personal dilemma with an interfaith marriages usually
will change the content of the marriage ceremony to fit
The required objects for a Jewish wedding include
a chuppah, or bridal canopy, a ring, and a glass of wine
that the groom and bride will sip together. Among the
rituals of the Jewish wedding ceremony is the crushing
of the wine glass under the bridegrooms heel. The
stamp of the shoe and the crunch of the glass signify that
the ceremony is over. The bride and groom are then
congratulated and the guests are welcomed to the
In Judaism, the Jews take their idea of death from
Genesis, where God commanded the man he made,
Adam, not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and
Evil, though he could eat freely of the Tree of Life.
When the temptations of the serpent had led both Adam
and Eve to eat of the forbidden tree, God drove the pair
from the garden. Their punishment consisted of pain in
childbirth, the burden of toil for their well-being, and
In Judaism, mourning is observed elaborately.
Technically, the death signals a yearlong observance.
The purpose of the Jewish funeral and burial is both to
honor the deceased and to provide comfort to the
Except in unusual circumstances, an autopsy is not
permitted. Burial in the earth is required and should take
place within 24 hours following the time of death. In
Judaism, cremation is prohibited.
The funeral is simple and prescribed by Jewish law,
and burial customarily takes place immediately,
preferably within 24 hours after death. Following the
burial, the immediate family will observe the ritual of
Shiva. Shiva represents a seven-day mourning period
in which the members of the family will remain at home.
During Shiva, other close relatives and friends may visit
the family. Another tradition of mourning is the
Kiddish, a special prayer, which is recited for 11 months
following the death. The Kiddish expresses the thought
that God is just and man should trust in all his acts.
This chapter has demonstrated how worship in the
pluralistic naval community, will affect the duties and
responsibilities of all RPs. Considering the major
liturgical refinement that has occurred in America, this
chapter has tried to make you aware of the shifts you
may encounter in both the form and the perception of
The information in this chapter has also provided a
foundation from which you can gain insight to the needs
of specific groups of people and apply your knowledge
and support to the acts of worship of all the major
religions. We have also tried to encourage you to
recognize and show your needs to develop an open
understanding of your Navy chaplains learned and
personal styles, needs, and desires. Many other
religious concerns we have mentioned are those
involving naval and civic community worship, interfaith
worship, inclusive language, lay ministries, changes in
policies and doctrines, creative worship, major life cycle
events, and the significance of history in the faiths
practiced by Navy personnel.