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If you find yourself on this page its either because you are trawling through our website or because you or a relative is soon to celebrate a wedding. If it is the latter Mazal Tov !

You are probably inundated with a whole range of people to meet, calls to make, not to mention food to sample. But it is at this time that you must also consider some of the more practical details for your special day.

We have provided some answers to frequently asked questions, but for more information please speak either to Rabbi Gestetner or our Synagogue administrator, Lisa, who will be able to direct you appropriately. Our staff will endeavour to make the preparation of your chuppah and wedding ceremony day as seamless as possible At Coogee we aim to make the spiritual experience of your wedding day as meaningful to you and as memorable as possible. Rabbi Gestetner is open to discuss with you any modifications to the chuppah ceremony that you would like to incorporate, within the accepted framework of Halacha (Jewish Law).

We understand and realise that, notwithstanding the excitement of the occasion there are nerves in the preparation and the organisation for this day. Sometimes it can get overwhelming.

Rabbi Gestetner is an authorised celebrant and will arrange all paper work for the civil marriage. The Rabbi will need to meet with the couple 3 times prior to the wedding day. The couple will have to bring birth certificates for documentation.

The Ketubah can be purchased online (from a reliable source) or at Golds bookstore in Bondi. The Rabbi can advise on suitable options.

Booking dates are discussed with out administrator and Rabbi. The office can be contracted on (02) 9315 6600 or


Weddings – the religious viewpoint

A wedding day is the most enjoyable and happy day in the lives of a prospective bride and groom.

Tradition has it that the heavenly abode of the Almighty himself together with the hosts of Angels, rejoice together with the bride and groom.

There is a lot more information on Orthodox Jewish marriage available online and in numerous books on the subject. Rabbi Gestetner can recommend sources of interest. 






Questions? And some Answers …


Why is there a Chuppah at a Jewish wedding?

Marriage is the union of man and woman. But male and female are opposites, and the idea that they can become one is absurd. You can’t take opposites and make them one. It’s impossible. The Medrash relates that getting the bride and groom together under the Chuppah is like crossing the Red Sea.

So how do we achieve the impossible? We find something that encompasses both of them. An energy that can include opposites can unite opposites. And the only energy that can include opposites is divine energy. Only G-d, the source of male and female and everything else, can bring together opposites. And so only G-d can create a marriage.

The word Chuppah means encompassing.  It represents the divine presence that hovers above bride and groom to unite them. Because man and woman can only truly become one if they dedicate themselves to something bigger than the both of them. When two people unite for a common higher cause, then they transcend the differences between them and become one.

Love, attraction, chemistry, biology and physics are all important for marriage, but what will keep it together is shared spiritual values and a common sense of divine purpose. As long as G-d is a partner in the marriage, you will be standing under the Chuppah for a lifetime.

We have got engaged and want to set a date for the wedding, what do we do next?

Initially, speak to Rabbi Gestetner. He will need to talk to you about pre marriage sessions, the Mikvah and premarriage paperwork.

You should also have a conversation with our synagogue administrator Lisa Greenstein .

How do I book my wedding?

You will need to book the date and time with Rabbi Gestetner, as well as choose and book a venue for the ceremony. We have a beautiful chuppah which has been used both inside the synagogue and outside in the shul grounds and elsewhere. Just ask Lisa. See some of our photos to get an idea of how your special day might look.


Can you tell me more about the paperwork Rabbi Gestetner is going to need?

Before your wedding can take place under Orthodox auspices, you will need to provide documentary evidence that you are Jewish and eligible to marry. In straight forward situations, where both of you are marrying for the first time and are the biological children of parents who married under Orthodox auspices, you would need to provide your full birth certificates and your parents’ Ketubot (Jewish marriage lines). If any key documents are not readily available, every assistance and advice will be given to help you obtain whatever may be necessary.for example showing a copy of both your grandparents Ketubah from a recognised Orthodox synagogue. Exactly what this entails can vary according to circumstances but Rabbi Gestetner can advise you on this.

My parents or my fiancee's parents weren’t married in an Orthodox synagogue. How do I proceed?

If they were not married in an Orthodox synagogue, you need to go further back in the maternal line, bringing a Ketubah from your/their grandparents or great-grandparents on the mother’s side, together with full birth certificates, showing the direct connection to you.

I am adopted. What documents do I need to bring?

Hopefully your adoption will have been registered with an Orthodox Beth Din, which will have issued a certificate vouching for your Jewish status.

I am a convert. What documents do I need to bring?

You will have a conversion certificate from the Orthodox Beth Din which handled your conversion, which should be brought to the meeting.

I changed my name. What documents do I need to bring?

Any deed poll, statutory declaration or similar legal declaration which shows the name change should be presented at the meeting.

I am marrying someone coming in from overseas.

Please note that the person coming from abroad will need to involve a Rabbinical Authority local to them, in order to provide further evidence of their Jewish and single status. Ideally, this would be provided by a properly constituted Orthodox Beth Din. For guidance in these circumstances, contact Rabbi Gestetner re this. The Department of Immigration may also need to be aware of this and your fiance may have special paper work to complete and special criteria to conform to before the marriage can take place..

Must our wedding be in a synagogue?

Whilst a Synagogue ceremony is the choice of most couples, increasingly many are choosing to celebrate their marriage at non-Synagogue venues.


Do I have to take out Synagogue membership?

No it is not necessary but you will be offered a discounted Synagogue membership package as part of Our Wedding Gift to you for choosing Coogee Synagogue.


Getting Married in Israel?

What documents do we need to take to Israel with us?

The Rabbinical authorities in Israel will expect your local orthodox Beth Din to authorise you as an eligible person to get married. Rabbi Gestetner can help you arrange the paperwork that you can present to the rabbinate in Israel, stating that you are Jewish, single and eligible to get married.

You will need:

  1. A covering letter stating where and when you are getting married with your Hebrew name (if known) and contact details and whether you wish the certificate to be posted or be available for collection.
  2. A photocopy of your Parents’ Ketubah (Jewish Marriage Certificate)
  3. A photocopy of your full birth certificate showing both parents names.
  4. You may need two Jewish witnesses, non relations, who have known you for at least 5 years that would be willing to testify that you are single.
  5. Three passport photographs.

Please note the Israeli Rabbinate expect all couples to attend pre marriage classes and certification that the bride has gone to the mikvah. There are details about the Mikvah elsewhere on our website.

When should I contact the Israeli Rabbinut?

A file can be opened with the Israeli Rabbinate well in advance (eg 4 – 6 months) of the wedding date. If you anticipate any complications, it may be advisable to allow more time to sort out the paperwork.

Is my Israeli marriage recognised here?

Marriages under the official Rabbinate in Israel are registered with the Ministry of Religious affairs and, subsequent to the wedding, you will be issued with a Te’udat Nissu’in (marriage certificate) which is the State registration of your marriage. This may need to be shown to the civil authorities back in Australia.

Will the Israeli Rabbinut expect anything else from us?

The Israeli Rabbinate will ordinarily require proof that the couple have had marriage lessons and you must inform the registrar that the marriage will be taking place under Jewish auspices


Mazel Tov and Congratulations! 

Sun, 14 April 2024 6 Nisan 5784