About 8th Blessing
Why the name 8th Blessing? At a traditional Jewish wedding, Seven Blessings, or Sheva Berachot, are traditionally recited beneath the chuppah (wedding canopy). These blessings are inspired by the concept that “it is through the marriage of this couple that creation is renewed.” The seven blessings describe a return to the eternal concept of the Garden of Eden through the couple’s union, and the redemptive hope in their shared destiny.
However, there is a problem: Many rabbis refuse to officiate at the weddings of these couples as they will not officiate at interfaith weddings, now over 70% of all Jewish marriages. 8th Blessing is Open Temple’s response.
8th Blessing is a website, affiliated with a 501-c3 synagogue and center of learning, that ordains individuals to officiate at the wedding of their friends. 8th Blessing acknowledges that many of us are Jew-ish and would like a presence of that at their weddings. The 8th Blessing combines universalist concepts with the ancient Sheva Berachot (Seven Blessings), and refers to a blessing written by Rabbi Lori Shapiro, Founder of Open Temple and 8thBlessing.org:
“Blessed are You, Eternal Sovereign of the Universe, who unifies all of us through inclusivity, tolerance and acceptance.”
Lori Schneide Shapiro
Founding Rabbi/Artistic Director, The Open Temple, Venice, CA.
“For the Jew-ishly Curious and those who love us.”
Founder of Open Temple in Venice, CA, Lori’s rabbinate is dedicated to reaching unaffiliated and intermarried families and seekers. Previously the Director of Jewish Life and Senior Consultant for Interfaith Relations and Outreach at the University of Southern California Hillel, Lori’s transdenominational rabbinate was informed by her studies at the American Jewish University, years living in Israel studying within an Orthodox Jewish framework and graduation from both the Academy for Jewish Religion/California (MA in Rabbinics) as well as the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (MA in Jewish Studies). Rabbi Lori and Open Temple began as a part of a national incubator supporting cutting edge and innovative Jewish programming mentored by Rabbis Without Borders and CLAL. Rabbi Lori and Open Temple were then admitted as a member of Upstart Labs’ 10th Cohort and as a member of David Cygielman’s Open Dor Project. Rabbi Lori is a graduate of the Spiritual Direction program with the Yedidya Center for Spiritual Direction and is a member of Spiritual Directors International, a member of the current cohort of the Interfaith Inclusion Leadership Initiative and is a proud Lion of Judah. Rabbi Lori is a member of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and the Sandra Caplan Beit Din. She and her husband, Dr. Joel Shapiro, live in the Venice canals with their two daughters and labradoodle.
MARKETING MANAGER FOR 8TH BLESSING
Jessica Miller is the Marketing Manager for 8th Blessing with a proven track record for successfully managing projects from strategy to conclusion. She is an analytical problem solver and is always up for a challenge. Passionate about social activism, she has traveled worldwide to practice Tikkun Olam, healing the world. Jessica traveled to Nicaragua in 2015 to meet with local community leaders and better understand the social justice issues affecting the country, and in 2017, to Houston, Texas to support victims of Hurricane Harvey. Jessica is excited to be part of 8th Blessing and is here to facilitate bringing new possibilities for Jewish unions in the modern world.