The Volokh Conspiracy

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Zion to Zion by Ben Zion

|The Volokh Conspiracy |


An article in the Forward by Ilan Ben Zion about "a growing number of Israelis … opting … [to get] married virtually in the state of Utah":

That seemingly simple act has landed [Shira Hofesh] at the center of a case before the Israeli Supreme Court, one that — if her appeal succeeds — could fundamentally change the options available to Israeli couples unable to get hitched in the Holy Land.

Hofesh's husband, Alexey Kabishcher, immigrated to Israel from Ukraine as a child but is not recognized as Jewish by the Orthodox Rabbinate. As a result, the couple could not get married in Israel.

Israel, in a provision that stems from the old pre-1918 Ottoman system, provides that marriages are to be done through the couple's religious community. This "make[s] it impossible for intermarriage or same-sex weddings to take place in Israel, or even Jewish weddings performed by non-Orthodox rabbis," which has led to many Israelis getting married in nearby Cyprus. But the pandemic has shut off physical travel, and thus led to virtual marriage tourism:

Last year, the Beehive State approved wedding ceremonies over the internet in which only the officiating party is located in Utah proper, and which doesn't require any of the parties to be residents of the state. Israelis like Hofesh started flocking — virtually — to Utah, prompting Israel's interior minister to institute a freeze on marriages performed in Utah.

Read the whole article here.

UPDATE: Commenter Bored Lawyer wins the comment thread:

If anyone knows any reason this man and this woman should not be married, let him click RAISE HAND (or type ALT-Y) now or forever hold your peace.