A Jewish Wedding

This traditional Jewish ceremony was adapted for the union of two women, Kathy and Joyce.

BY: Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann

 
What are we doing here today?

"Homosexual relationships are no less valid or worthy than heterosexual ones and therefore deserve no less. (But also), they are not exactly the same and do not need to do everything exactly the same." -Rabbi Janet Marder



What we are doing today is:

  • Ritually affirming a change in status in Kathy and Joyce's relationship
  • Giving of the blessing of Judaism, of family and community to Kathy and Joyce
  • Witnessing in public their commitment to share their lives together
  • Linking their relationship to the stream of the Jewish people and to our Jewish community
    >br> Since, in a civil context this act has no legal standing, the religious and communal meaning of what we affirm today is that much deeper and richer.

    A traditional Jewish wedding is divided into two parts-erusinor, betrothal, and nissuinor, carrying off. Betrothal provides the legal container into which a couple makes commitments to one another. Kathy and Joyce have written a ketubah, a contract, which they regard as legally binding. They will exchange rings, gifts given to one another as an expression of their intention to maintain their covenant with one another.

    In nissuin, we celebrate the emotions and love which fill the container. Your role in this celebration is to rejoice with Kathy and Joyce. Ritually, the way in which we do this is to say "amen" to the blessings under the huppa. At the party, I know that you have many creative ways to rejoice with them!

    B'rukhot ha-ba-ot b'shem Adonai.... Blessed are you who come here, under this huppa, in the name of God. 0 most awesome, glorious and blessed God, grant Your blessings to two who enter here with love and hope and joy. Make their home a shelter against the storm, a haven of peace, a stronghold of faith and love.

    Kiddush
    This cup of wine, is symbolic of the cup of life. As you share the one cup of wine, you undertake to share all that the future may bring. All the sweetness life's cup may hold for you should be the sweeter because you drink it together; whatever drops of bitterness it may contain should be less bitter because you share them. As we recite the blessing over wine, we pray that God will bestow fullness of joy upon you.

    You abound in blessings, Adonai Our God, Source of all creation, creator of the fruit of the vine.

    A circle is the symbol of the sun and the earth and the universe, of wholeness and perfection and peace. The rings you give and receive here are the symbols of the endless love into which you enter.

    Behold, you are united with me in holiness.

    Ketubah
    Joyce and Kathy have written a contract which illuminates the responsibilities which they will each accept to make this relationship strong.

    While we celebrate today, we also remember those who are unable to celebrate with us, Joyce's parents, Glen and Melba, and Kathy's mother, Adele. Kathy has asked that I read some words from her mother, which help us to know how much she would have rejoiced at this moment, if she were alive.

    Adele's letter

    Nissuin
    Kathy and Joyce's poems
    Tallit

    Sheva Brachot (Seven Blessings)
    You abound in blessings, Adonai our God, Source of all creation, creator of the fruit of the vine, symbol of human joy.

    You abound in blessings Adonai our God, Source of all creation, all of whose creations reflect your glory.

    You abound in blessings, Adonai our God, Source of all creation, creator of human beings.

    You abound in blessings, Adonai our God, for the ability to appreciate diversity within the community of Israel and to know the hearts of them all.

    You abound in blessings, Adonai our God, source of all creation, who is good and does good.

    We rejoice as these two people overcoming separateness unite in joy, You abound in blessings, Adonai, permitting us to share other's joy.

    You abound in blessings, Adonai our God, creator of joy and gladness, song and laughter, love and passion, peace and friendship. We are thankful that in a world where loving relationships between women are rarely acknowledged, your children gather in celebration of this union. You abound in blessings, Adonai our God, for the joy that Kathy and Joyce find in one another.

    Closing
    May God bless you and keep you.
    May God's presence shine upon you and be gracious to you.
    May God's presence be with you and give you peace.

    Breaking of Glass
    As we all know, the world is not a place of shalom, of wholeness and peace. The world has been shattered into fragments by violence and injustice. As we hear the glass shatter, we are reminded of this shattered world, and of the power your love has to make the world a better place, to heal some of those fragments.

    SIMAN TOV UMAZEL TOV!

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