Wiener, Nancy H. 1958-

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Wiener, Nancy H. 1958-

PERSONAL:

Born June 10, 1958, in Boston, MA; daughter of James S. (a doctor) and Bernice G. (an educator) Wiener; partner of Judith Tax (a social worker), December 7, 1991. Ethnicity: "Jewish." Education: Brandeis University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1980; Columbia University, M.A, 1986; Hebrew Union College, M.A.H.L., 1988, D.Min., 1994. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Tennis, scuba, travel, languages.

ADDRESSES:

HomeNew York, NY. Office—Hebrew Union College, 1 W. 4th St., New York, NY 10012. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Rabbi. Ordained Jewish rabbi, 1990; Pound Ridge Jewish Community, Pound Ridge, NY, rabbi, 1990—; Hebrew Union College, fieldwork coordinator, 1991—, clinical director of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling, 2000—,adjunct full professor, 2004—. Columbia University President's fellow, 1986.

MEMBER:

Central Conference of American Rabbis, National Association of Jewish Chaplains, Phi Beta Kappa.

WRITINGS:

Beyond Breaking the Glass: A Spiritual Guide to Your Jewish Wedding, Central Conference of American Rabbis Press (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Daniel Judson) Meeting at the Well: A Jewish Spiritual Guide to Being Engaged, foreword by Lawrence A. Hoffman, UAHC Press (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer) Judaism for Two: A Spiritual Guide for Strengthening and Celebrating Your Loving Relationship, foreword by Elliot N. Dorff, Jewish Lights Publishing (Woodstock, VT), 2005.

Contributor to journals, including Central Conference of American Rabbis Journal and New Menorah Journal.

SIDELIGHTS:

Nancy H. Wiener is an American rabbi. Wiener completed her religious studies primarily at New York's Hebrew Union College and became an ordained rabbi in 1990. She has served the Pound Ridge Jewish Community in that capacity ever since and maintained a professional relationship with her alma mater, acting as the clinical director of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling since 2000.

Wiener published her first book, Beyond Breaking the Glass: A Spiritual Guide to Your Jewish Wedding, in 2001 through the Central Conference of American Rabbis Press. The book was compiled within one year of the Central Conference of American Rabbis board deeming same-sex marriage to be an institution recognized by the organization if conducted through proper Jewish channels. Wiener, who wed her partner, Judith Tax, in 1991, additionally has experience in overseeing Jewish weddings through her role as a practicing rabbi. In the book Wiener discusses not only same-sex marriages, however. She also covers opposite-sex marriages, interfaith marriages, and marrying after having been divorced, ranging from the traditional to the more creative means of doing so. Wiener explains the meaning behind many of the more standard elements of a Jewish wedding, such as the vows and breaking the glass, and also proposes alternatives to replace those aspects of the wedding. Wiener addresses the logistics of the wedding as well, ranging from organizing the reception to the emotional troubles that often plague couples while making the wedding arrangements.

Jewish News Weekly contributor Maya Strausberg wrote that Wiener "goes above and beyond" in assisting same-sex couples plan their special day. Strausberg noted that "perhaps most helpful is her checklist in the appendix; it sets a timeline of things to do," extending as early as one year before the actual ceremony. Strausberg did take issue, however, with the photographs, commenting that many "are not of the greatest quality," or even irrelevant to the text at times. As for the text itself, Strausberg found it quite "straightforward," adding that "the content is easy to read." Strausberg concluded that Wiener's "sensitivity to conflicts that can emerge around any wedding makes her book a wonderful companion through the planning process. But most of all, this book allows any couple to feel comfortable arranging the ceremony and reception, no matter how traditional or unconventional."

In 2005 Wiener published Judaism for Two: A Spiritual Guide for Strengthening and Celebrating Your Loving Relationship. Written with Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer, the book acts as a self-help guide for couples wanting to explore their relationship through the Jewish faith. Collecting stories from ancient and modern Jewish texts, personal stories from associates of the authors, and by applying Jewish tradition, Wiener and Fuchs-Kreimer give examples of how the Jewish faith can improve the happiness in a relationship. They also provide tips, guided discussions, and exercises to help couples reduce stress in their lives. Carol Volk, writing in the Midwest Book Review, "enthusiastically recommended" Judaism for Two. Volk found the text to be "thoroughly ‘reader-friendly.’" She added that the book is "a welcome addition to ‘self-help’ supplemental reading lists."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Jewish News Weekly, November 9, 2001, Maya Strausberg, review of Beyond Breaking the Glass: A Spiritual Guide to Your Jewish Wedding.

Midwest Book Review, November, 2005, Carol Volk, review of Judaism for Two: A Spiritual Guide for Strengthening and Celebrating Your Loving Relationship.

ONLINE

Hebrew Union College Web site,http://www.huc.edu/ (December 19, 2007), author profile.