Podcast Business News – Interview with Rabbi Sara Shonfeld
1. Please give a description of your company and the products/services you offer.
My name is Sara Shonfeld. I am a legally ordained Rabbi and an interfaith wedding and lifecycle officiant. I was born and raised in Israel where I master’s in education and Jewish studies. I am 7th generations born and raised in Israel. Which means that my family lived in Israel in the past 200 years.
I studied Education, music and extensive Jewish studies In Israel, and in the past 35 years my work was always revolved around the Jewish life and Jewish education. I was part of: family’s engagement interactive programs, Shabbat and holiday services, Lifecyle celebrations, As a music specialist, I taught music for all ages including: drumming and percussion classes in many schools, temples and Yeshivas in Long Island and NY and also, I presented at Jewish conferences and presented music programs for teachers.
As part of my job as a Rabbi and Interfaith officiant , I am honored to perform many wedding ceremonies which are all personalized, inclusive, and welcoming.
Some are strictly Jewish and some are Jewish interfaith or interfaith.
I work with my couples individually to create and tailor the ceremony that truly represents them as a couple but also their families who will feel most connected to.
I am respectfully open and accepting of all traditions and seeing them all as equal paths with the goal to perform a unique and dynamic ceremony that each guest will feel included and engaged during the ceremony.
2. How long have you been in business?
I have been officiating Jewish, interfaith, spiritual, civil and interfaith ceremonies and lifecycle events for the past 13 years.
I received my Rabbinical Semicha (ordination) from the Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute in New York, NY. The Rabbinical School code of ethics represent the designation of a Rabbi far more than a title or a job; it represents a life commitment and a dedication to serving our communities.
I also received my first ordination as an Interfaith wedding officiant and Interfaith Rabbi from CoAW; a national Interfaith organization. that honors the individual integrity of world religions and seeks harmony and understanding between all human being.
3. Tell us about your business.
I am an independent Rabbi. That means that I perform either Jewish or Jewish interfaith ceremonies. I am a co-owner of Ceremonies of the Heart LTD along with Rev. Deb Viola. Together, we provide lifecycle service for Long Island and the tri-state area.
I meet with each couple to discuss all the options that are available in creating their ceremonies and together we work on creating a beautiful, meaningful, and personalized ceremony. I am grateful and truly honored to be part of their special day.
I love connecting with their family and friends and being part of their milestone life cycle celebrations in their lives.
It is important to me to stay connected to my couples and I often continue to be part of their lifecycle events such as baby blessing and naming, Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and more.
4. What inspired you to pursue your profession?
Many Jewish interfaith couples were kind of left behind when their love was not recognized by rabbis who will marry only Jewish couples.
There was a need for many couples who don’t share the same faith and still want to include Jewish elements, traditions, and cultural aspect as part of their ceremony and to be represented by a Rabbi who will include cultural traditions and blessings. I am honored to be there for them!
5. What would you like the listeners to know about you?
I love people. My work was always with and around people of all ages! Marriage is a huge milestone!
Officiating each ceremony is the most joyful part of my job! There are many important values in a marriage: Love, respect, devotion, faithfulness, shared values, happiness, trust, consideration, communication, motivating each other, understanding, laughter, connection and more.
Often, I tell my couples: Remember how you fell in love in the first place and keep the romance going. Be attentive to each other, make time for one another,remember to send flowers, love notes, create surprises and memories, and remember not to let life get in the way of your love!
Each and every one of us is a glorious creation of God!
My favorite quote:
“The day you were born is the day God decided that the world could not exist without you”
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
היום שבו נולדת הוא היום בו החליט הקב”ה שהעולם אינו יכול להתקיים בלעדיך”
הרב נחמן מברסלב