In this, our third FreedomVoice customer spotlight, we interview Rabbi Andrea Frank of Jewish-Wedding-Rabbi.com. Rabbi Andrea is based in Westchester County, New York, but frequently performs a wide array of ceremonies and services all over the globe.
From these spotlights, we hope you can learn something useful that can be applied to your own business, as well as connect with another entrepreneur.
Rabbi Andrea, tell us about you.
Rabbi Andrea: Well, I’ve always loved weddings! As a teenager, I found myself having visions of becoming a rabbi. It truly is a calling to become a rabbi.
It wasn’t until later on in my life that it dawned on me I was to follow this path. The office setting wasn’t for me. I was always turning to Judaism, temples, the spiritual focus that contributed to this knowing that my great, great grandfather was a rabbi. Learning this was what validated me to move forward in the proper training to become one.
Blending the two, Judaism and weddings, was a perfect fit – my niche! Being ordained offered to make both passions become a reality for me. That is how Rabbi Andrea, The Jewish Wedding Rabbi came about, and I have not looked back since.
What are your hobbies?
Rabbi Andrea: Crafts, cooking, baking, traveling, and enjoying being the traveling Rabbi!
Tell us about Jewish-Wedding-Rabbi.com.
Rabbi Andrea: It started with finding out that there was more than one way to practice as an ordained Rabbi. The traditional route is to have a pulpit and with a congregation. However, those demands offer no balance between congregational responsibilities and personal life. Being unaffiliated and or independent, I knew it would offer challenges in making a living, but my beliefs and faith was stronger in assisting those seeking a Rabbi for their life cycle ceremonies for I knew the need was there with over 70% with no connection to a congregation.
Being a Rabbi is about helping others, so I knew I could not go wrong. The Internet is the search tool of today, and having a website and the right marketing is what is used worldwide. The definition of a rabbi is teacher, so the website was the best medium to teach all about the Jewish wedding. The Internet is not filled with 100% misinformation. I strongly believed that those couples and families reading the content on my website would have security of some sorts knowing they were reading proper information.
When I started with my website and saw the domain Jewish-Wedding-Rabbi.com was available, I knew it was meant to be. This is the most common search engine keyword relevant to my business! When the website started becoming more visible, that’s when I knew I could add more pages to include all the other things that rabbis do.
Now, after six years, I reached that point where I get a lot of word-of-mouth referrals for weddings, naming ceremonies, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and all life cycle ceremonies – including funerals, even pet funerals!
Tell us more about pet funerals.
Rabbi Andrea: Pets become a part of the family and those that are very much pet lovers will fulfill all needs in the care of their pet including end of life issues.
Looking at creation, God created the animals and then created people. For we are to take care of the animals. There are pet cemeteries in place, and since it is now illegal to bury the family pet in the back yard, pet cemeteries provide a proper resting place. A special ceremony is created to provide comfort to family when a beloved pet is laid to rest.
There is a very well-known pet cemetery in New York called Hartsdale Pet Cemetery. When you walk the grounds of the cemetery and you see all the graves, it is touching. There is even a war dog from World War 2 – an amazing monument for he served our country for us. The cemetery and I connected, and those requesting a rabbi will be referred.
What are your goals?
Rabbi Andrea: My goals are being met. I am able to continue reaching out and assisting as many people as I can.
I provide a warm and personal ceremony that becomes a blessed memory and a lifetime of memories. I want to stay connected so people always have a rabbi to turn to. Believe it or not, Facebook became another great tool to stay connected with the wedding couples and the families I have officiated life cycle ceremonies for.
I’ve had wonderful opportunities. I’ve been flown to France, Mexico, Germany, soon to California, all over the Tri-State area of course – never forgetting my local area. In fact, even though I grew up in New York and spent my whole life here, I still feel like a tourist! I am constantly being exposed to unique and special venues. It’s a constant discovery. I get to be part of a couple’s first moment when I pronounce them husband and wife. Such joy!
As it is said, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. I would add to it and say, “enhance it”. I am going to continue what I have been doing and work towards more exposure to inform the unaffiliated community that they can call upon a rabbi. Focusing on what is important with Jewish life, as those seeking a rabbi knowing it is important to them as well.
How did you find out about FreedomVoice?
Rabbi Andrea: I found FreedomVoice online. I knew I needed a toll free number. When you go through the regular channels with the regular telephone company, the costs are astronomical. You are still dealing with normal jack and copper lines to create their toll free system, and that makes it a big expense. So I did a search and found FreedomVoice!
I had a previous provider and the customer service was unprofessional. I never received calls back from customer service. I needed a new provider and the FreedomVoice website came up. I could not believe as soon as I had a question as a new customer, I received a return call immediately. WebLink, the online control panel, is just awesome! I am mediocre with technology, and I’m impressed that it’s so easy to use.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Rabbi Andrea: With the economy being what it is, the first thing to go is religious memberships. Temples and synagogues can be the first thing out the door when finances are tight as there are dues. But the need for a rabbi for life cycle ceremonies still exists, so people reach out on the Internet. Technology will always stay in the household budget. We are a technological society. Being unaffiliated and accessible on the web helps me to help others anywhere, especially now. People are so happy to find me online, and to learn that I can travel to fulfill their needs for their important life cycles.
Would you recommend us?
Rabbi Andrea: In a heartbeat, absolutely!
Make sure you visit Rabbi Andrea on her website at www.jewish-wedding-rabbi.com and introducing www.www.jewish-wedding-judaica.com.com, an easy to navigate online shop for ceremonial ritual items. Mazel Tov!