Rabbi Sara Shendelman officiates at spiritual, interfaith, non-denominational, gay Jewish and diversely unique weddings. Providing marriage, spiritual, cultural & religious counseling, inspired lifecycle events, cantorial services, rabbinic leadership at Shabbat & Festival services, all occasion ritual creation, Bar & Bat Mitzvah tutoring, grief counseling, funerals, conversion assistance, mentoring, advocating & teaching in a compassionate, joyous, literally harmonious and personal atmosphere.

for your lesbian, gay, Jewish and/or interfaith wedding, celebrations, rituals and spiritual guidance by
PHONE: (510) 644-2956
~~~~~~~~~ or ~~~~~~~~~

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Bride’s Choice Award 2011

Dear Sara,


We are excited to announce that Wedding Officiant Sara Shendelman has been chosen to receive the Bride’s Choice Awards™ 2011. This award recognizes the top 5 percent of local wedding professionals from the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service and professionalism.

The Bride’s Choice Awards™ are determined exclusively by recent newlyweds (brides and grooms) through extensive surveys and reviews, which means your past clients have spoken on your behalf and selected you to receive this honor.

WeddingWire would like to commend you for your excellent service and dedication to the wedding industry.

The WeddingWire Team

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Meaningful, warmhearted, lively, beautiful

Dear Rabbi Sara,

We are so grateful to you for the meaningful, warmhearted, lively, beautiful and absolutely unique wedding ceremony you performed for our kids.

We’ve got so many compliments addressed to you.  Old and young, Jewish and Sikh, religious and not – all said that it was the best ceremony they attended.

Thank you again so much.  


L and V

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts

Dear Rabbi Sara,

   Every day we are receiving mazel tov's on our wedding and compliments about you and about the ceremony. You are brilliant at officiating - you incorporated everything - all the elements, from wind and crying babies, to my shivering bride....and so beautifully.

  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We bless you with love, happiness and good health.


  A and J

Monday, November 01, 2010

Warmed and Uplifted

Dear Rabbi Sara,

Thank you for conducting the most beautiful wedding ceremony we could have hoped for. You truly have a gift for customizing!

We both felt that our wedding held so much meaning for us individually and as a newly joined couple. It seems like all our guests at one point or another was sure to compliment the Rabbi. We had a wide range of guests and all were warmed and uplifted. K and I feel so fortunate to have found you.

Our wedding day has forever changed our lives.

Many thanks and much love,
R and K

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Great words and wonderful thoughts


Rhonda and I think of you often and how happy and joyous your shining light made our wedding such a wonderful happening.


one drop of oil

I was at a Chanuka party tonight and a newcomer to Jewish community
was being asked what the main teaching of Chanuka is. She started
speaking about the miracle of the oil, and as she did I thought of the
real miracle of Chanuka: that an out numbered, ill-equipped minority
can win out again & again against a larger, stronger force. One person
alone can make this difference. The main teaching of Chanuka is
that we bring light into the darkness and suddenly the darkness is
dispelled. We cannot dispel darkness with anger, more darkness.
Only with light. The Chanuka story is that we are all made of light.

It seems true to me that another side of this dredyl is that something
held out longer than it should have been able to. Maybe it was oil.
Basically the Rabbis didn't want a holiday about war, so the grace
of the oil lasting spoke of God's sustenance. It is also true that
those who fought the darkness lasted longer than they probably
thought they could, fought more bravely, attracted more free-
dom fighters to their side. What sustained is the same light
we try and shine out into the world. A light in the wilder-
ness. This we give each other. It is the kindness of a
stranger when we need it most. It is an unexpected
hug from our kids. It is the words, "I love you."
It's even just a simple smile, a one line email, a
hand extended and grasped. We cannot
survive without these and they help us go
on when we think we are not able to go
on. This is what we give each other.
Know that the smallest gesture is
the oil for another's lamp.Do not
withhold this and it will not be
withheld from you. Love is
only increased the more
we spend it. Be the light.

Many blessings to you,

Rabbi Sara Shendelman

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wedded Bliss

Dear Rabbi Sara,

We are absolutely in wedded bliss! Getting married is by far the best thing we've ever done ;) And so much thanks goes to you - you made the ceremony, and the day, just perfect for us. The moments we spent together, both before and after the wedding... we can't thank you enough.

Again, thank you. You are an amazing woman with such a huge and open heart - we both learned a lot just from spending time with you. We're so grateful you could marry us. And we'll send you some photos when they're ready!!

Evie and Stephen

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rabbi Shendelman PodCast of the Happiness Show

Rabbi Shendelman is interviewed on the Happiness Show Podcast
with Aymee Coget, PhD

and Bob Nozik, MD.

Listen to Rabbi Sarah answer questions, talk about happiness and other topics, engage in light banter, discussion and share about her process of working with people, conducting weddings and spiritual counseling!


Rabbi Shendelman is introduced 1/4 of the way through the hour long program.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Your words will stay in our hearts and minds

Dearest Rabbi Sara-

A thousand blessings for you! We can not thank you enough for what
you did for us. Your words, your grace, the connection we felt to
you will always stay in our hearts and minds. All present felt the
joy and solemnity of the occasion.

JoAnn and I realize that we are fortunate to have found one another and that we do have a very strong and tender relationship. Now it is cemented legally at least in a couple of places and we can only hope for more in the future.

So we thank you once more and we will hopefully be in contact with each
other when the spirit moves. You are a very special person.

With a special wish and blessing for you for health and happiness.

Abby and JoAnn

Many Blessings

Dear Rabbi Sara,

I was thinking about you today, and how much we enjoyed the ceremony. My friend Claudia was so moved by your officiation that she said she thought about converting.

I send blessings your way and have made it my business to do so daily to others. Sandra and I have been knocked over by everyone's reaction to our wedding. Who'd thunk? lol

Thank you again, and many blessings to you and yours.

Rebecca and Sandra

Grounded, joyous, real

Dear Rabbi Sara,

I am at the age when I am going to many weddings of my
friends. I cannot tell you how moved I was by the ceremony
your performed. It was the most grounded, joyous, real
wedding ceremony I have ever witnessed or could imagine.



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Moving, inspirational, joyous

Dear Rabbi Sara,

Greetings from the beach!  Thank you so much for such a great wedding ceremony!  Everything went well and smoothly.

The wedding ceremony was moving, inspirational, fun, thought provoking, solemn, hopeful, joyous and creative.  We felt truly blessed on our wedding day.  

Every single person in attendance really loved your service!  One couple told us they wanted to be married again by you!

Hopefully we will see you again soon.  Again, thanks for everything.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Extraordinary Ceremony

Dear Sara,

I wanted to get in touch and tell you how extraordinary the wedding
ceremony you did for Melissa and Pete was. My husband has never
cried at a wedding, and he cried at yours. If ever there was a person
who should be paid in the name of religion, it is you. You brought
everyone there to a place of joy, uplift, and sacredness-to feeling love.

I was brought up Catholic and you revealed the mysteries to us so that
we could draw from it. I cannot thank you enough on behalf of the
bride and groom, and for myself. I bless so many couples out there
that they are able to find you.



Most Exquisite

Dear Rabbi Shendelman,

I was at Clarina and Patrick's wedding, and I didn't get a chance
to tell you this then. It was the most exquisite wedding ceremony
I have ever witnessed. Your manner, both your real depth and light
touch, your words, your singing and speaking voice-are so beautiful.
You were born to do this work, it's amazing.

It is also admirable how you handled the moment with the crying
baby with so much sweetness and the right touch of humor, to keep
the moment from being a distraction. It was touching.

I hope to see you again,


Monday, July 21, 2008

Perfect Mix

Dear Rabbi Shendelman,

The service was beautiful, and reflected the perfect mix of religion, spirituality, common ground, lightheartedness and humor. It was moving, inspirational, creative and brought us even closer together. Literally dozens of guests commented on how wonderful the ceremony was and we could not agree more. You have such a gorgeous singing voice and spiritual wisdom that shines so brightly.

We both think fondly (and often) about our wedding weekend. We eagerly await our wedding video to watch it all again. You were a big part of what made it so special.

We could not have been happier with the ceremony, and feel lucky that we selected you and that you selected us. Thank you!

B & R

Friday, July 11, 2008

Beautiful, Joyous Ceremony

Dear Rabbi Sara,

We would like to thank you so much for officiating our wedding ceremony. Everything was so beautiful and we are very happy that you helped Eugene and I to become one.

So many guests commented on the beautiful, joyous ceremony. We bless you with all our hearts that you remain such a success in bringing two loves together and in all of your personal and professional endeavors.

With love,

V and E

Monday, June 23, 2008

Exceptional, spiritual, moving and profound


Karla Gudeon
Limited edition dry-point engraving

Dear Sara,

I want to send you thanks for your involvement in our ceremony and wedding experience in general. It is hard to know where to begin in expressing our appreciation for you and your work.

Before the wedding, our meetings, phone conversations and emails were all comfortable and exciting. After every one of these interactions, I left feeling so excited about our wedding ceremony and so sure that it would transpire as I imagined. Thank you for all your interest, involvement, input, and inspiration during the preparation times.

On our wedding day, your energy and presence were so calming and warming for me. I loved how you checked in with us before the ceremony and talked to us about starting our relationship anew with a clean slate based on love, about making wishes while walking down the aisle, about being sure to absorb the ceremony experience for at least one moment, and about our soon to be empowered privelidge of sharing blessings for one year. That experience was so grounding and calming that I was able to maintain a sense of presence that I carried into the ceremony.

I loved every element of the ceremony from the bells to the blessings, to the opportunity to say aloud our personal vows, to having our loved ones shout out their blessings, to acknowledging cell phones, to experiencing your smile. Everything was so amazing and remains surprisingly clear in my mind. I feel fortunate to be able to remember and relive this experience.

Again, thank you. Thank you for creating for us such a phenomenal ceremony and experience, thank you for all your love and groundedness, thank you for sharing with us traditions and spirituality, thank you for your humor and sense of the present, and thank you for sharing yourself with us.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wondrous and Beautiful Experience

Dear Rabbi:

My husband and I so thoroughly enjoyed your wedding service I had to write to tell you! We spoke early on at the reception, just after the doors to the banquet room were opened. We live in LA. I wish you were down here so we could gain more spiritual guidance and fulfillment through your services. When we go up to SF area again we hope to attend one of your Sabbath services.

I am giving your email address and name to friends of ours who live in Piedmont -- they are searching for a new religious worshipping place.

Thanks again for helping to make the wedding event such a wonderous and beautiful experience. We try to live in the white light.


Wonderful and Meaningful Ceremony

Dear Rabbi Sara,

We cannot thank you enough for making our wedding the special day that it was. I don't think the ceremony would have been as wonderful and meaningful as it was if we had a different officiant. We believe our finding you to officiate was truly meant to be. You did such a beautiful job and helped bring a deeper and more spiritual meaning to our ceremony. It was so amazing that our non-Jewish family and friends felt so happy about the ceremony, so inclusive.

Even now we are still hearing regular compliments on our wedding. More than a few of our parents' friends and our older family members have expressed that it was the best wedding they have even been to and one of the most beautiful ceremonies. And many of our friends have joked that they would convert to have such a lovely ceremony when they get married--but I know you do just as beautiful a job for your non-Jewish couples.

You became a very important part of our day and we really wanted to share some of the photos with you. We hope you enjoy them and know what a sense of meaning you helped bring to our wedding.

Thank you so very much!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Amazing mother and friend

Dear Ema,

You have been an amazing role model and mother this year.
You have been able to take everything that has happened and
at the end of the day remain cheerful and wonderful. You are
such a strong and incredible woman and I look up to you so
much. Thank you for being an amazing mother and a best

Love, Aliya

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Passover Blessings

As we try to leave our slaveries behind, let us be aware that it is love that makes more love. That our freedom is a hard won thing made of right thinking and right action. We cannot just study the Torah, we must embrace the idea of loving our neighbor as ourselves in the real world. If we make a mistake, we must make amends; make teshuva. Plowing ahead, when we have destroyed people and things behind us, is not acceptable. If we are to do Tikkun Olam, to try and heal the world, singing and dancing will not be enough. We have to do the hard work of communicating well, of listening and seeing the pain of those around us. We have to honor those who have come before. If we do not have each other, who do we have? What is our work worth? All the poetic chat about the glorious dawning of a new day is but as cheap perfume - if there is no heart to reach out to a person in pain, there is no heart.

May we all, here at the narrow places trying to leave slavery, find the courage to blaze a new trail. May the love and compassion that fill us, rule our lives and liberate our hands and our lips. May we go forth to right action, and may this year's matza truly be the Bread of Freedom.

I bless you with really crossing over this Pesach.
You have carried so much and so many across the sea.
Your love is the raft and your brilliance is the sail.
God's love for you is the wind.
May you be filled with joy for the Tikkun Olam you have created and continue to create.
It is my blessing and great privilege to receive some of your joy and light.
I thank the Source of All Being for your presence on my journey.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Appreciative and thoughtful communication

Dear Rabbi Shendelman,

Thank you so much for your understanding, thoughtful and kind
response. It honestly means so much to me that you are not shaming me
for wanting to make changes. That type of love and support is what
has drawn me to Judaism in the past.
Your compassion and
generosity of spirit were wonderfully calming for us. Michael and I were
very impressed and are talking about what to do.
I have looked at your website,
and it is apparent to me why so many couples rave about you!

Sincerely, Joy

Dear Joy,

...it was really a pleasure sitting with you last night and
I am very happy to hear that it was helpful.

The main thing I want to tell you is that you are doing your
work with this enormous life transition very well. You are right in knowing
that this is very important and not a time to, 'just go along.'

Your wedding is a magic moment that deepens your relationship and
reaches toward the heavens. The blessings do magic. The connection you
make with each other during the ceremony itself, is hugely important.
That is why I am so focused in the ceremony on making sure that the
connection is made.

It matters to both families that they both feel honored and taken
into account in the ritual. Life long loves and life long resentments can begin
at a wedding, and also any time the whole family comes together: Bar Mitzvahs,
Consecrations, Confirmations, and Funerals. Your instincts are right, even if this
just turns out to be an exploration. It opens your hearts to each other even wider.

I feel such a strong, loving, compassionate bond between you. I know you
will have a brilliant life together. And also, the best marriages are when both
people consider their partner's needs slightly ahead of their own. I saw this
happening with you both last night.

I bless you with clarity, compassion, love, joy and peace.
And, of course, the wedding of your dreams.

Rabbi Sara

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How Incedibly wonderful

Dear Sara,

How incredibly wonderful that in joining our lives, you joined our life. Thank you so much for the time you spent during pre-wedding "tuning in" and for marrying us with so much love, tradition, and inclusion of our families. We love you, wish you a truly blessed year and can't wait to share many love filled chapters with you.

Much love,

Monday, December 10, 2007

Kindness, positive energy...spiritual wisdom

Rabbi Sara,

Thank you so much for everything that you did to make our wedding ceremony so incredibly special! Your warmth, good humor, kindness and positive energy made our time under the chuppah unforgettable!

You have such a dynamic spirit, a gorgeous singing voice and a spiritual wisdom that shines so brightly! We are very lucky to have you in our lives!


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Reflection of Light

Dearest Sara,

As Jews around the world acknowledge this week as
the Festival of Light, I am made warm and shown the way by the light you reflect.

for your Jewish or interfaith wedding, celebrations, rituals and spiritual guidance by
PHONE: (510) 644-2956
~~~~~~~~~ or ~~~~~~~~~