I am an ordained and registered New York City ceremony officiant. I grew up in New England and studied comparative religion in college. After a career in theater and dance on the west coast, I moved back east in 1998 and resumed my study of religion. I entered the Masters of Divinity program at Union Theological Seminary and served as an interfaith chaplain intern for Jacob Perlow Hospice. My internship as a chaplain revealed to me a calling and passion: helping individuals and families move through major life transitions.
After completing my masters program, I began working as a counselor with a mental health crisis hotline. Since then, I have done counseling work for September 11th recovery programs, for survivors of hurricane Katrina, for homeless persons with mental illness in a transitional housing program, and with the inpatient psychiatry program of Bellevue Hospital Center. Over time, this work has strengthened my commitment to social justice and deepened my faith in the healing power of our relationships; it is my spiritual practice.
In 2003, a couple asked if I would perform their wedding. Using my counseling skills and religious studies, we created a ceremony that reflected their values as a couple while respecting the faith traditions of their families. I fell in love with this work, and this love grows with each couple I meet and with every ceremony I officiate. I now perform ceremonies around the New York City area and across the country and have an expanding psychotherapy practice with a private office in midtown, Manhattan. I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I am happily married and with two wonderful children.
Whether you are planning a civil or interfaith ceremony, every wedding brings together the traditions and perspectives of two families (at least). My goal is to listen and help you design a wedding ceremony that reflects your personal values and can include the faith or family traditions of your choosing. I bring to this work the knowledge of several religions and philosophies and the skills of a counselor. Every couple is unique, so each ceremony is different, and I learn something every time from each couple.
Weddings and Commitment Ceremonies
“Jesse helped us begin the process of ‘getting married’ months before our actual ceremony. Once a month, we'd meet to talk about our hopes and plans for the wedding. He’d urge us to focus on the traditions of our faiths and families and make difficult decisions about what is truly important to us. These get-togethers inspired us to think deeply about what it means to be married.
“We are forever grateful for the insight and care that he brought to our wedding. With his support we created a ceremony that was the perfect mingling of ourselves and our families. But more than this, Jesse helped us to design a service that was a declaration of the life we hope to live together. Two years after our wedding, people still talk about the service. It's amazing!”