On the home page of its website, Boise's Jewish synagogue, Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel (CABI), describes itself as "a progressive synagogue dedicated to Torah (lifelong learning), Avodah (spiritual growth), G’milut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness) and Kehilah (community-building)."
The veracity and intention of that description will never be more apt than on Sunday, May 18, when—in light of U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale overturning Idaho's ban on gay marriage—the synagogue will offer free wedding ceremonies to gay couples
Arlen Donald, chairman of the Ritual Committee at Ahavath Beth Israel, said the synagogue is opening its doors so that "people have the opportunity to get married in a beautiful and historic building and have some community there to give them some support."
Weddings will be performed one at a time and Donald will officiate (he is state certified), although they are looking at getting another officiant or two—Donald said Rabbi Daniel Fink is coincidentally performing a wedding out of town this weekend and wished he could be here. CABI will have a sign-in book, and though there may be a wait, the synagogue is providing refreshments and a place for couples to hang out until their big moment.
In addition, local photographer Melanie Folwell
has offered to provide free wedding photos.
Donald added that he and several other officiants plan to be at the courthouse Friday, offering on-the-spot weddings for couples with their licenses, but CABI also wanted to offer more.
"We wanted to give people the opportunity to get family and friends involved, get people into town and have the wedding in a nice place with pictures," Donald said.
More information is available on CABI's Facebook page