Barbara Behrmann, Ph.D. and Humanist Celebrant, brings a unique combination of ceremonial leadership, creativity, event planning, organizational skills, and a warm and outgoing personality to many types of ceremonial needs. She is certified through The Humanist Society as a Humanist Celebrant, and can legally officiate at weddings in all 50 states. As of 2023, she has officiated at well over 100 weddings.
A resident of the Ithaca community since 1992, and 1994 founder of Kol Haverim: The Finger Lakes Community for Humanistic Judaism, Barbara believes that the milestones we experience throughout life deserve to be honored in ways that reflect our unique personalities, values, beliefs, traditions and cultural backgrounds. She officiates at weddings (including interfaith, intercultural, and same sex ceremonies) and has led b'nai mitzvahs, baby namings, and menarche celebrations.
As a coordinator and consultant, Barbara's personal and professional background helps her see “the big picture” as well as the tiny details that unfold during the planning and orchestration of ceremonies and events.
Prior to her ceremonial and event planning work, Barbara received a Ph.D. from Penn State University and worked as a free-lance writer while mothering two young children. She is the author of The Breastfeeding Cafe: Mothers Share the Joys, Challenges and Secrets of Nursing (University of Michigan Press, 2005) and spoke at conferences around the country. She volunteers with Ithaca Welcomes Refugees, is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY and is currently a member of the State of the Art Gallery, also in Ithaca, where she displays her abstract acrylic paintings and fiber art. (You can see her work at www.ArtQuiltsbyBarb.com).
Barbara’s diverse background as a writer, author, wedding officiant, ceremony creator, organizational leader, speaker, networker, artist, sociologist, and mother of two (now grown) children create a skill set perfectly suited to help you conceptualize, organize, and realize the public and private milestones of your life.
The Humanist Society, The Society for Humanistic Judaism, and Kol Haverim:The Finger Lakes Community for Humanistic Judaism.
Jennifer Lawrence Birnbaum, Wedding and Event Coordinator and Classical Music Consultant, has over 20 years of experience in planning events of all sizes and settings – from large benefit concerts with multiple performing groups, to small parties and receptions, to destination weddings. The daughter of a caterer, she is also skilled at menu planning, table design, and creating ambiance.
Jennifer is not only a highly organized and focused “people person,” but is our go-to person for ceremonial music. She holds a Bachelors degree in Music and a Masters degree in Music Education/Ethnomusicology from two of the best music schools in the country, and is currently the choir director for the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca. Combine this with early education in Buddhist and Hindu philosophy and roots in an extended Jewish family, and you have someone who brings a broad and unique perspective to ceremonial work. Her own wedding ceremony, in fact, brought together elements from multiple religious traditions, including 12 readings and 11 pieces of music. Her love of “all things weddings” has not diminished over the years.
A resident of Ithaca for most of her life, Jennifer lives with her husband, tenor Mark Lawrence, and their son, Zeke.