BOOKED: Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Beth Chayim Chadashim synagogue presides over an August wedding, one of 40 she will have performed by the first week of November.
Before California lifted the ban on same-sex marriage, a rabbi at Beth Chayim Chadashim in L.A.’s Fairfax district had only one ceremony scheduled for the year. Now, she’s presided over dozens.
Just minutes before donning her prayer shawl, Rabbi Lisa Edwards beckoned the couple she was about to marry and sat them down to run through her checklist. As usual, Edwards had meticulously compiled notes about the ceremony in the pages of a giant black binder.
She reviewed the lineup of guests who would read during the ceremony of the two men.
At the beginning of May, Edwards, the rabbi of the Beth Chayim Chadashim synagogue in Los Angeles’ Fairfax district, had a single wedding on her calendar. Then the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in mid-May.
Between mid-June, when gay couples could legally begin marrying, and the first weekend of November, she will have performed more than 40 weddings. All but one are same-sex unions. And that’s not counting her own wedding in July to her longtime partner, Tracy Moore, a fundraiser for public radio, which was presided over by a rabbi and State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.
Edwards has bounced from small weddings to large ones, from her modest temple on Pico Boulevard to a rambling mansion in Santa Monica called the Victorian. She’s officiated in a Runyon Canyon home and on a Malibu deck. She’s been to Palm Springs, Running Springs and Visalia, where she married two women — who’d been together 37 years — the afternoon before the grandson of one of them celebrated his bar mitzvah. ("They tacked it on because everyone was already there," Edwards said.)
It’s not uncommon for her to double up on Sundays with afternoon and evening weddings. (A Jewish wedding cannot take place during the Sabbath, which starts at sundown Friday and ends at sundown Saturday.)