Recently I heard a quote by John Wesley: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
As the founder of Methodism, John Wesley’s philosophy embodies the Jewish concept of ‘tikkun olam’ – to leave the world better than we found it, certainly a noble humanistic approach, whatever one’s religion (or lack thereof). Upon hearing this quote, I experienced an “Aha!” moment as I realized that all my life, this quote has guided me, as I sought to integrate these core values into my personal and professional lives. My previous jobs, all of which have offered me the opportunity to impact people’s lives in various ways (often as a pioneer in the field), allowed me to develop and hone the skills I now use as a Wedding Celebrant. Among others, these jobs included: Vegetarian Cooking Instructor, Personal Computer Instructor, Human Resources Specialist, Corporate Trainer, Technical Writer
My educational background, which was also influenced by these core values, consists of:
- Wedding Celebrant Certification, Celebrant Foundation & Institute
- Funeral Celebrant Certification, Celebrant Foundation & Institute
- M.S. in Human Resources, Loyola University in Chicago
- B.S in Sociology and Psychology, University of Illinois in Chicago
My First Ceremonies
Being a Celebrant is very personal to me. When both of my parents passed away in 2000, I experienced first-hand the comfort of participating in a meaningful personalized funeral service while following traditional Jewish mourning customs. To honor their memories, I began providing spiritual and religious support to residents of senior living facilities. Many of these residents’ families then honored me by asking me to officiate at their loved ones’ funerals. What started as a way to honor my parents’ memories quickly became my passion.
The first wedding ceremony I ever created was my own wedding, combining traditional and contemporary elements! And, as my husband says, we are still happily married, living in the greater Chicagoland area. Over the years, as I observed clergy officiating at interfaith weddings and saw them ignore one religion in favor of the other, I thought there must be a more respectful way to officiate an interfaith wedding, either honoring both religions, or none at all. My certification classes at the Celebrant Foundation taught me this and much more.
My Lucky Break
Then, in March of 2009, my corporate job ‘rewired’ me (their term for being laid off), allowing me the opportunity to follow my passion of creating memorable personalized ceremonies honoring life’s milestones, most commonly funerals and weddings. So here I am – a Certified LifeCycle Celebrant!