First Jewish gay marriage in Latin America held at Argentine synagogue

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) – The first Jewish same-sex wedding ceremony in Latin America was celebrated at a Buenos Aires synagogue.

Victoria Escobar, 36, a convert to Judaism, and Romina Charur, 35, were married on Sunday evening at NCI Emanu El Temple in the Argentine capital. Some 300 guests attended the ceremony, which was officiated by Rabbi Karina Finkielstein.

Escobar and Charur entered the synagogue together and the rabbi led them to the chuppah. Less than one hour later, Finkelstein read in Hebrew from the ketubah, or marriage contract, that consecrated the wedding.

The couple was married in a civil ceremony in 2014.

Finkielstein spoke about how about two years ago the couple began to participate actively in the NCI community, including taking courses in parallel, such as introduction to Judaism, Torah and Talmud. The rabbi also spoke of the demanding beit din, or rabbinical court, that approved Escobar’s conversion.

Escobar was raised in a non-practicing Catholic family and converted to Judaism through the Conservative Latin American rabbinical seminar. She told the Argentine media outlet Infobae that “my desire is to have Jewish children.”

Charur told Argentine media that the couple wants to raise a Jewish family and need the ketubah to enrol their future children in Jewish schools. She revealed that they are in the process of in vitro fertilization treatments with a sperm donation and she will gestate the baby.

The ceremony ended with the traditional cries of “mazel tov” from the crowd, as the two brides broke two wine glasses – an image that on Monday was featured on the cover of the leading Argentine newspaper Clarin.

The wedding announcement was widely reported by Argentine and Latin American media, as well as by JTA, and celebrated by LGBT groups such as the Argentinian Homosexual Community, or CHA.

Both brides told Argentine media that they wanted the publicity in order to encourage other couples to hold religious wedding ceremonies.

Argentina was the first country in Latin America to approve same-sex marriages, which have been legal since July 2010.

The assembly of NCI last month unanimously approved a request to hold the same-sex wedding, calling it “another major step in the full recognition of all religious rights for all members of the community,” NCI Emanuel and the LGTB organization Judios Argentinos Gay (Jewish Argentinian Gays), or JAG, said in a statement, which said the wedding would be the first same-sex Jewish religious marriage in Argentina and Latin America.

The decision was made under the guidelines of the 2006 Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, which approved same-sex marriages for the movement.

NCI-Emanu El belongs to both the Conservative and Reform movements.

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