Three rabbis, two lovebirds and now one baby girl

Until very recently, the biggest day in the lives of Nomi Deutch and Michael Moradzadeh was their wedding, which took place Jan. 3, 2010.

Now that joyous event competes with another one that took place just last month — the birth of their baby daughter, Abigail, on Nov. 11.

Happily sleep deprived, the new parents recalled how they met through a mutual friend in March 2006, when Nomi was working in corporate governance research in San Francisco. A native of Philadelphia, she was in town for only six months, transitioning between Fulbright scholarship studies in Turkey and a move to England to get her master’s at the London School of Economics.

Michael, a native of the Bay Area, was practicing law in San Francisco after getting degrees from U.C. Berkeley and Columbia University.

Nomi Deutch and Michael Moradzadeh

As fate would have it, they were working in buildings across the street from one another in downtown San Francisco — but it’s unlikely they would have met if not for one of Nomi’s co-worker, a college friend of Michael’s, who fixed them up.

Their relationship survived Nomi’s time in London, and the couple married four years after first meeting. The wedding was held at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco, and with 225 guests “it was small by Iranian standards and large by Ashkenazi ones,” joked Michael, whose family is of Iranian descent.

Three Orthodox rabbis — two from the Jewish Study Network and one from Chabad — officiated. Those gathered for the event danced to both klezmer and traditional Iranian music, and enjoyed kosher American cuisine.

The couple and their infant daughter now live in Bur-lingame. Nomi, 27, works in

the San Francisco office of the American Jewish Committee, and Michael, 30, recently started his own law practice.

Something old: Nomi and Michael decided to make good use of a lovely fireplace at the wedding venue, placing framed photos of their grandparents on the mantel.

“They were either their wedding portraits or photos of them as couples when they were young,” Nomi explained. “Some of our grandparents were, fortunately, with us at the wedding, but others weren’t — so we wanted to be sure to include all of them in this way.”

Something new: The couple commissioned Oakland artist Naomi Teplow to design their original ketubah, which featured images of a sukkah and pomegranates.

“The sukkah represents our building a new home together, and the pomegranates refer to my law practice, which is called the Rimon Law Group (rimon is pomegranate in Hebrew),” Michael said. “There’s a lot of symbolism with the pomegranates, because not only is the law practice obviously a big part of our lives, but Nomi was very supportive and helpful to me in deciding to branch out and start the firm a year and a half ago.”

Something borrowed: The Kiddush cup the couple used under the chuppah was borrowed from Michael’s parents, who have used it at family Shabbat dinners for 20 years.

Something Jew(ish): Michael and Nomi had a very traditional Jewish wedding, which included not only the chuppah, but also a tna’im (engagement agreement), a bedekken (veiling of the bride) and a hassan’s tisch (groom’s table).

“These parts of a Jewish wedding are not commonly done here in San Francisco, but they are done back East, where I’m from,” noted Nomi.

The mothers of both the bride and groom, together with Michael’s aunt, broke the customary plate at the tna’im ceremony, and the mothers and other female relatives from both sides of the family surrounded Nomi as Michael covered her with the veil during the bedekken.

“It was a nice way of showing that our two families were coming together with this wedding,” Michael said.

Renee Ghert-Zand
Renee Ghert-Zand

Renee Ghert-Zand is a Jerusalem-based freelance journalist. She made aliyah from Palo Alto with her family in June 2014.