This was supposed to be the happiest day in the life of Sharon Schechter and Roman Buksafon, but on Monday, a day before their wedding, the Chief Rabbinate informed he couple they were not allowed to marry.
"You are adopted and therefore your Jewishness cannot be verified," a rabbi at the Chief Rabbinate told Roman, who denies being adopted and says he has produced all the documents required by the Rabbinate to receive a wedding permit.
Roman and Sharon (Photo: Michael Kremer)
Two and-a-half weeks ago the couple first visited the Rabbinate, and asked to have a small ceremony held at the place. "We went to the Rabbinate because we wanted to respect our roots, and it seemed fit to do it according to Jewish tradition," Sharon explained.
They initially presented the rabbi with the divorce papers of both their parents, who had obtained their divorces through a rabbinic court. However, the rabbi asked them to come up with additional documents to prove they are Jewish. "Since both of us are Jewish, we didn't foresee any particular problem and set a date for the wedding," said Sharon.
Last week they returned to the Rabbinate with the required papers. Roman showed the rabbi his and his father's birth certificates and a diploma from the Chabad school he attended as a child. The rabbi tried to contact Chabad in order to verify Roman's Jewishness, "but they were unable to locate the people who taught me 15 years ago," Roman said.
He was consequently invited for yet another meeting, to which he brought his father and grandmother. They presented the rabbi with Roman's mother's birth certificate that showed she is Jewish.
On Monday Roman and Sharon arrived at the Rabbinate to pay the marriage fee, and were shocked to hear from the head of the marriage registry department, Rabbi Yehuda Landau, that Roman is adopted.
"I asked him if he was joking and he phoned my father, who yelled at him that this is nonsense. But the rabbi insisted and called another rabbi, who claimed that my birth certificate was apparently fake," Roman recounted.
As a result of the rabbi's decision, Sharon and Roman's wedding was cancelled. One of the rabbis explained to Roman that his Jewishness was in doubt, and that in his opinion Sharon is Jewish, while he is not. "This was too much. It's clear to me I'm not adopted," he stated.
The distraught couple have meanwhile decided to get married in Prague in a civil wedding.
Rabbi Landau said in response: "According to the information we have, the son does not belong to his father and some of the papers his father brought were forged. In light of this we suspect he may not be Jewish."