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The wedding ceremony for the three couples. Credit Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times Thus Israel’s religious monopoly presents an immovable obstacle for people like Ori Berwald Shaer and Alona Livneh, L.G.B.T. activists who exchanged vows on Sunday. The couple couldn’t do so in Israel because the rabbinate doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage. The power of the rabbinate is an equally major stumbling block for converts like Elizabetha Komkov, who promised to spend the rest of her days with Valentine Boldovskiy, a man she met at Hebrew school in St. Petersburg. Both immigrated to Israel from their native Russia, where they reunited five years ago. But like so many immigrants from the former Soviet Union, under Jewish religious law (Halakha), Ms. Komkov was not considered technically Jewish.
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