Our experience with Rabbi Phillips for our wedding could not have been any better! We met with her for an initial meeting, and knew that she would be the perfect person to officiate our wedding. As my husband is not Jewish, Rabbi Phillips was great at helping him understand the nuances of a Jewish wedding ceremony. She was excellent in helping us understand what it means to to get married, start a family and prioritize each other throughout the process. Through a series of "homework assignments" she helped us think about what it is that we value in a relationship and in a family, what we saw our futures together look like, where we stood on certain religious topics and most importantly, why we loved each other and wanted to marry in the first place.
After the wedding we received such positive feedback from all of our family and guests about how beautiful the ceremony was. Rabbi Phillips took the time to help those in attendance understand the different elements of our Jewish wedding ceremony. Since we had met with her frequently, she had really gotten a chance to know us and was able to talk about us during the ceremony in a way which sounded like she had known us for years. Without a better way of saying it - "she really got us and our relationship".
The part of our wedding day which we truly found special was the Ketubah signing ceremony. Rabbi Phillips had encouraged us to share some special words with each other in lieu of vows during the wedding ceremony. As such, we wanted the Ketubah ceremony to be only with immediate family. The private, intimate ceremony was exactly what we needed to kick-off our special night and is something that we will always remember.
It was a pleasure to have Rabbi Phillips officiate our wedding and we can't imagine our wedding day without her. Thank you, Rabbi Phillips! — Danielle
Meeting Laurie was the happiest accident we have ever had. We searched for months to find a rabbi who would marry us on a Saturday afternoon. Just as we were about to give up hope, referral after referral brought us to Laurie. We realized soon after, just how special she is. She immediately made us feel so comfortable, as if we had known her for years. We truly enjoyed getting to know her better, and the process of her leading us into our lives together. She spoke such kind and genuine words, and made an audience of 150 people feel like an intimate gathering. She has a calm wisdom about her, and is very warm and caring. Throughout the process, we had many questions and stresses, and she made us feel so comfortable and ready. We recommend her wholeheartedly! — Rachel Rothberg & Jeffrey Koch
Please accept this long-overdue note of appreciation from both Paul and me. When friends and family ask have we "recovered" from the wedding, our response is that we are still floating on a cloud. As Katherine said, the event was "truly magical." We have you to thank for your central role in making it so.
We are very grateful, first of all, for your kind support and guidance given to Ashley and Daniel over the past year or more to prepare them for marriage. It was very reassuring when we met you in NY to see the couple (and Katherine also) embraced in your caring and experienced arms. The warmth you exuded that day we felt many times over during the wedding weekend, as did our friends and family. Adjectives we and others use to describe the event: warm, relaxed, genuine, personal, meaningful, beautiful in every way, and especially memorable. Your presence and words imbued each element of the marriage ceremony with feelings of love and hope for peace in our lives and in the world.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Reading the program again today, I am reminded of how you helped Ashley and Daniel express themselves and honor traditions in the formulation of the wedding ceremony. Inspirational and touching were the seven blessings offered by family and friends, and we would love to have a record of them. Would it be possible for you to send the texts?
I saw the beautifully composed ketubah prominently displayed, if not yet affixed to a wall, in the apartment when visiting the kids on short notice over MLK weekend. We had dinner (and beers!) at the Double Windsor and Ashley pointed out the corner table where you presided over the marriage license signing with Katherine and Hannah as witnesses. A sentimental spot for sure.
Heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all you have done for Ashley and Daniel on their journey together and for all of us who love and care for them. - Ellen and Paul (parents of the Bride)
We have known Rabbi Laurie Phillips, affectionately known as Rabbi LP, for close to 6 years in a variety of capacities. Simply put, when I think Rabbi LP, I immediately think: joy, warmth and enthusiasm. Joy because she is joyfully engaged as Jewish spiritual leader. Warmth because she is endlessly embracing and giving to those who question religious precepts without judgment or alarm. And enthusiasm, because she is endlessly enthusiastic for spreading her experience of Judaism and Jewish culture to adults and children alike. She is immediately likable by children and adults because she engages you with a style of Judaism that is meaningful, welcoming and comfortable.
Initially we were introduced to her as my children’s religious school principal where we were taken by her genuine love of Jewish culture and religion and her boundless enthusiasm to impart that love to our children. She makes Judaism approachable and encourages engagement at any level or degree without judgment. Her enthusiasm for the deeper meaning of things, for the Judaic spiritual order of things is frankly contagious. She is contemporary in the sense that she understands the “dilemma" many non-orthodox American Jews face. That is, how can create a more meaningful, joyful experience of Judaism that dovetails easily with being fully American.
Most recently, we asked and we were honored to have Rabbi LP prepare and lead my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, which was an evening Havdalah service at an outside venue. The experience was phenomenal for my daughter and family. Of course, she covered the logistics of the Havdalah service, but more importantly, she challenged my daughter to think deeply about her Torah portion, to think deeply and question what it meant for her, and ultimately encouraged her to think about all the ways the experience could be a joyful expression of herself and her values. I have to say, that this evening was one of the highlights of my life. Of course, under any circumstance it would be joyful occasion. But Rabbi LP elevated it to another level of joy. Guests and family members (Jews and non-Jews) alike, all remarked how the Rabbi created a beautiful, accessible and meaningful service.
It’s without any hesitation that I can recommend Rabbi LP as teacher, mentor or guide. She is one of those few people you meet in life who truly is beautiful on the inside and out. - M.W.
Wedding & Baby Naming
Rabbi Laurie officiated at our wedding and at our baby namings. She brings so much loving energy to each preparation and ceremony. At the event itself, her warmth and caring and her attention for detail helped bring everyone together into the celebration. She is grounded in tradition, but creatively interpreted rituals and tailored each event to be meaningful for us and our guests -- finding connections to what we value. We have received numerous comments about the meaningful ceremony, from those steeped in Jewish tradition, those who have felt alienated in the past, and people from other faiths. Our ceremonies would not have been the same without her and we can not recommend her highly enough. -Rachel F. and Stephan S.
Having been referred to Rabbi Phillips, I began my conversion journey in June of 2012. From the beginning she was thoughtful, welcoming, and engaging. I am not an easy subject as I am direct, I ask a lot of questions and I tend to enter new relationships and major life changes with what I consider a healthy amount of pragmatic curiosity, or as others may assess – pure skepticism. However, Rabbi Phillips never flinched at my forthright manner. She took the appropriate about of time and care to actively listen to my motivations, my struggles and my intentions during the conversion process. Over the course of the next year, my meetings with Rabbi Phillips became a much anticipated part of my routine – her ability to act as my spiritual adviser while helping me to connect my overactive brain with my underutilized heart was paramount in solidifying my commitment to the Jewish faith. I count my relationship with Rabbi Phillips as one of the many great blessings in my life and I am confident that she brings the same openness, compassion and insight to all those who are lucky enough to know her. - Steph
I have known Rabbi Laurie Philips over several years in different capacities. It has been such a pleasure to work with her and learn from her. She approaches everything she does with warmth, intelligence and heart. My most memorable experiences have been attending the mikveh with her the week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
I had no idea what to expect but had been excited by the idea of attending a spiritual cleansing during this traditionally reflective period. Needless to say is was transformative. As you immerse yourself in the water reciting ritualistic prayers you feel sensations all throughout your body as if being held and simultaneously nurtured by the water. I felt this deep connection to something greater then myself. Laurie was there through the process sharing words of wisdom, helping set intentions for the coming year and singing with her hypnotic voice. I am forever grateful for Rabbi LP for giving me the magical gift of this experience as well as many other wonderful spiritual gifts over the years. - Tara
Rabbi Laurie was the co-officiant at our daughter’s baby naming six months ago. Not only did she do a masterful job on the day of the baby naming itself, but it was such a pleasure to work with her throughout the process. Laurie listened intently to what my husband and I were most interested in reflecting, made suggestions on the Jewish wisdom that would be appropriate to bring to the occasion and helped us put together a meaningful ceremony that incorporated all the elements we cared about in a flow that worked. She worked very well in collaboration with the other co-officiant, who is the rabbi of the congregation to which we belong. At the baby naming itself, Laurie led us in spirited singing, spoke beautifully and made all the participants in the ceremony feel welcome and honored. We could not recommend her more highly to those seeking a collaborative, warm, full-hearted spiritual leader. — Renanit L