"How many of you have converting rabbis?" he asked.
The entire class raised their hands but me. This was why I had tried scheduling the meeting months ago. The woman stood me up, and the rabbi had seemed very nonchalant when I had asked him, choosing instead to give me a brief overview over email.
Conversion takes a year, he had written me.
I'm not waiting another year from August, I had told Abraham.
"And I don't convert by wedding dates," he told the class. "It's too hard to plan a wedding and convert at the same time. Some of you may take the class and choose not to covert, and that's okay too. Just get married and finish converting when the time is right. You'll have to have a second ceremony to be officially wedded in the Jewish faith."
Abraham and I headed his advice, mainly because we were at his mercy, and removed conversion from our wedding date factors. There were plenty of remaining factors:
- Finding a rabbi who will perform an interfaith wedding. Our rabbi made it very clear he would not.
- Finding a Saturday during Daylight Savings Time when the sun sets early and thereby ending the Sabbath at a reasonable hour. Rabbis do not work or travel on the Sabbath. This alone eliminated 6 months out of the year, including spring and summer, when the sun would set close to 9:00 p.m.
- Abraham was not getting married during football season, eliminating autumn.
Our other options were getting married on a Friday or a Sunday, but Abraham hated Friday weddings and didn't want to make people take off work. We tried Sunday of Memorial Day, but venues were already booked by people who had planned ahead. Sunday of Labor Day was too far away for me and too close to football season for Abraham.
That left us with January and February, the two cheapest months of the year to get married. The sun would set 6:00ish, so we could have a Saturday night wedding.
The ceremony would be Jewish, but I needed some of my culture reflected in the wedding too. I didn't want everything dictated by Jewish law. So I found the biggest, whitest antebellum home I could afford. It was built in 1870 and has 2-story white columns and a porch. It's everything I wanted, down to the green velvet curtains and working fireplace. It is so very southern. My heart was set.
It's booked for February 22nd.