At the end of last year, Australia legalized same-sex marriage. While Lauren Price and Amy Laker were the first couple to wed after the announcement, Ilan Buchman and Oscar Shub recently became the first same-sex Jewish couple to do so.
Five months after the legalization, Buchman and Shub married at Sydney’s Emanuel Synagogue on 2 May. The wedding was officiated by Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins. Guests, 168 total, came from all over the world to celebrate the couple’s big day, including from South Africa, Israel, England, Canada, Perth, and Melbourne.
Emanuel Synagogue is a pluralist congregation that welcomes the Masorti, Progressive, and Renewal sects of Judaism—all which advocated for same-sex marriage in Australia.
‘Certainly the reason we chose to get married in a synagogue – and we believe it’s an appropriate message to send to the Jewish community – is that times have changed and that if people suddenly discover that they have gay children or gay grandchildren, those children or grandchildren can still lead a regular existence,’ Shub told Plus61J.
‘For young people and those not out yet, hopefully by us getting married, officially with a rabbi officiating, it sends a good message,’ Buchman echoed.
‘It was an incredible honour and privilege, on behalf of Emanuel Synagogue, to officiate at the first same-sex ceremony under the legislation,’ Rabbi Kamins told J-Wire.
‘We look forward to more ceremonies in the coming months. My associate, Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio, who has been the strongest advocate of marriage equality in our community for more than 10 years, will be conducting with me another same-sex marriage early June.’
‘When he said, “I pronounce you husband and husband” and the whole synagogue broke into clapping; it was just amazing – it was fantastic!’ Shub said after the wedding.
Old, Jewish traditions
Buchman and Shub broke the glass at the same time, following the Jewish tradition of grooms stomping on glass to commemorate the moment. This tradition dates back to the writing of the Talmud and symbolizes that where there is rejoicing, there should also be trembling. The lesson being that even at the height of personal joy, we must remember the suffering of the Jewish people and recall a world in need of healing.
‘There’s lots of brokenness in this world, lots of people who face tragedy and discrimination,’ Rabbi Karmins said before the glass being broken. ‘There’s still so much work to do, in our country and around the world, to bring that sense of wholeness and peace.’
‘But these shards of glass are not just to think of what is broken but also of the power of your love to bring healing.’
47 years of love
‘Oscar and I have been partners for 47 years and after 47 years our fondness for each other is as strong as it ever was and hopefully will continue to be so,’ Buchman said.
‘Who would have believed in 1971 that I would be standing here tonight married to my partner, my best friend and the love of my life for the past 47 years? That says it all,’ Shub said during his wedding speech.
‘I would say that it took a long time to come, but having arrived it is so important and life changing for so many gay people, particularly young people coming to grips with their sexuality, and for their parents to realise that their gay child can live life exactly as everyone else,’ Buchman said of Australia’s legalization of same-sex marriage.
‘I feel that after years of discrimination we have a duty to ease the passage for the young generation of LGBTI people who are coming out to be accepted by their communities,’ Shub added.