The Irish Rabbi for your Wedding


Welcome to Irishrabbi.com, the website of Rabbi Mark R. Newton. Why this particular website name? Until recently, I thought that surely I must be the only rabbi in the world with an Irish passport. Since then, I've discovered there are actually a few more out there. (But I can declare affirmatively that we've never all been in the same room together!)

Now as it happens, I was born, raised, and currently live in the United States. Nevertheless, I am very proud of my Irish citizenship and heritage. I am also privileged to live in Boston -- a terrific city in which to enjoy both the Jewish and Irish experiences.

Since 1991 I have been performing weddings, baby namings, Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, Hebrew tutorial, other Jewish life cycle events, as well as Shabbat and High Holiday service. Let me tell you a little bit about myself and what I do, in order to help you decide how I can be of service to you.

My rabbinical ordination is from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College where I was graduated in 1991, with a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters. Prior to my seminary studies there, I was graduated with a B.S. in Languages from Georgetown University, at the former School of Lanaguages and Linguistics. In preparation for university study, I attended the Carl-Friedrich von Siemens Oberschule-Gymnasium , in the former West Berlin, Germany. (A European Gymnasium is similar to a French Lycée, or pre-university school of higher learning.) After enjoying some 22 years serving as a pulpit rabbi in synagogues in the Boston area, I have taken retirement from that field, now devoting my energies to outreach to the "spiritually unaffiliated." I am also a professional genealogist and translator.



For many years now I have enjoyed providing rabbinical services and support for couples in the process of celebrating their union. I work with couples where both partners are Jewish, as well as interfaith couples and those with no particular religous tradition or spiritual affiliation. For such couples I have created non-denominational ceremonies which may incorporate rituals from many traditions.

In essence I serve as your spiritual guide as you begin to create your own special and unique family unit. I assist you through the process of creating a warm, beautiful and meaningful ceremony that reflects both Jewish and universal values and often includes rituals and customs from other spiritual, linguistic and ethnic communities.

I regularly co-officiate with clergy from other religious denominations.

As I am also a cantorial soloist, you may be assured of a pleasant musical experience as well. (And yes, I'm an Irish tenor.)

As of June 26, 2015, same-sex marriages are now legally recognized in all 50 U.S. states and in Washington, D.C. Alas, certain state legislatures and courts are trying to restrict legal benefits on a state and local level. These anti-gay measures are being challenged in higher courts, but the legal situation in such locations it is often still unclear as to state and local legal benefits for LGBT married couples. Fortunately, in most of the jurisdications where I work (New England, New York, Canada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and all of Europe), the civil authorities and wedding vendors will do back-flips to make sure that your special day is a happy one.

As of June 2005, fully legal same-sex marriage has been available in all provinces and territories of Canada.


UPDATE FOR RESIDENTS OF QUÉBEC
MISE À JOUR POUR LES RÉSIDENTS DU QUÉBEC

There have been a number of recent changes made in Québec civil law regarding all marriages, regardless of the gender particulars. Most of these changes simply make the paperwork easier. Please see The official Québec government website for further information.

Il y a quelques changes faites à la fin de 2005, qui concernent les mariages au Québec. La plupart de ces changes allège la paperasserie. Veuillez visiter le site officiel du Gouvernement du Québec pour plus renseignements.


Je parle français et je peux bien diriger une cérémonie bilingue pour vous!



I am based in Boston, so my usual geographic area includes metropolitan Boston, all of New England (New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island), most of New York state, and certain northeastern seaboard cities, such as New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, etc. I am flexible in considering other locations, including Canada, Europe, and other parts of the United States.


Another question I am often asked is whether I will conduct a ceremony outside of a synagogue. The reality is that, with very few exceptions, the vast majority of weddings I have officiated were held in a "religiously neutral" location. Here is a short list of some of my favourite venues:

MIT Chapel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

The Red Barn, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

The Saphire Estate (Manor), Sharon, MA

Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, Ipswich, MA

Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Wellesley, MA

Kirkbrae Country Club, Lincoln, RI

Ocean Cliff, Newport, RI

The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa, Essex Junction, VT

The Hampshire House (Site of the Sitcom “Cheers”)

Auberge des Gallant, Ste-Marthe, QC, Canada

Le Windsor, Montréal, QC, Canada

Sofitel, Montréal, QC, Canada

Sunnyside Pavillion, Toronto, ON, Canada

The Old Mill Inn & Spa, Toronto, ON, Canada

Castle Durrow, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, Ireland

The Moshulu, Philadelphia, PA

Saint Senán Church, Kilrush, Co. Clare, Ireland

Le Château Frontenac, Québec City, QC, Canada

You may have seen portions of a ceremony I performed aboard the Moshulu, which was featured on The Style Network in a series entitled Whose Wedding is it Anyway? . For that Irish-Jewish and somewhat (*ahem!*) "Pirate themed" wedding, I had the privilege to work with wedding consultant Mark Kingsdorf of Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants, Philadelphia, PA

Is your wedding venue located anywhere between southern Connecticut and northern Virginia (CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC, VA)? If so, you may wish to contact a rabbi who is more closely located to you geographically. In this case I highly recommend my mentor, colleague and friend, Rabbi Claire Green, at Best Rabbi for Couples in Love. She is is a superlative officiant, highly experienced, and very much in demand.

I have recently created a Facebook page, and I will be adding more content as soon as I figure out the technology angle!

You may read my reviews posted to both Wedding Wire and The Knot. Although I am no longer a member of either of them, apparently my reviews are still there!

For more information, please e-mail me at rabbimarknewton@irishrabbi.com and I will be pleased to send you an FAQ which will answer most of your questions about my background, experience, philosophy and availability. (So as not to delete your e-mail by mistake, please put the word WEDDING in the subject field.)

Stay tuned as I give this site a complete facelift and be sure and refresh your internet browser history so as to find the latest updates. Please come back and visit.

Shalom! Síocháin!