Every Friday night, Jews sing of greeting the metaphorical “Sabbath bride.”
This Friday, one D.C. synagogue is exuberantly celebrating the fact that the country can now welcome more marriages of bride and bride. Or groom and groom.
Using the Hebrew for “Sabbath bride,” Adas Israel Congregation wrote on Twitter, “May the Shabbat kallah dance with greater joy because the Torah of compassion and justice triumphed today!”
Adas Israel is particularly prominent among politically connected Jews in Washington. President Obama chose Adas Israel last month as the location of the first speech he has given at a synagogue while in office.
The very first time a U.S. president ever attended a synagogue service, it was Ulysses S. Grant — attending the dedication of Adas Israel in 1876.
And when Adas Israel celebrates the Supreme Court’s decision, it is praising the work of people in its own pews. Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan — two of the Supreme Court Justices who ruled in the majority today, in favor of gay marriage — are regular High Holy Day worshippers at Adas Israel.
In an e-mail to congregants, the synagogue’s clergy wrote on Friday morning: “Today will be remembered as one of the crucial moments when the arc of history was bent towards justice. … Today the Court ruled for equality, another sacred step towards civil rights for all of our country’s citizens.”
The e-mail quoted the book of Genesis: “It is not good for a person to be alone,” and the 20th-century rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who spoke of “those who light lamps for the multitude.”
For Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, the first of the four rabbis and one cantor who signed the letter, this issue is personal. Just last year, he came out as gay, and said in an e-mail to the congregation of more than 1,400 households that he and his wife of 20 years would divorce.
Steinlauf had previously officiated, in 2012, at the first same-sex wedding at Adas Israel, a Conservative synagogue.
The Conservative movement officially voted to approve same-sex marriage ceremonies in 2012. The more liberal Reform denomination of Judaism, which is the most popular denomination in America, has officially called for the legalization of same-sex marriage since the mid-1990s.