As a public school child in the 70’s, my Valentine’s Day often ended in tears. I remember digging into my optimistically large brown paper bag in first grade to find only three envelopes, even though my mother had insisted I fill out mass-produced cards for every child in my class. “No one likes me!” I […]
Tomorrow, my husband and I will celebrate our eighth anniversary. Our wedding was, without a doubt, the happiest day of my life. (Yes, having children brings me at least as much joy as having a husband, but after two c-sections, I’d have to say the wedding wins for best day ever.)
I love Jewish weddings, and had fantasized about mine long before I met and fell in love with my non-Jewish husband. While deep down I still wanted a very traditional wedding, I also felt that it was disrespectful to the tradition to pretend that ours was a halachically acceptable union. So Keith and I set out, together, to create a ceremony (and now a life together) that preserved the joy, the history and the culture of Judaism, but was also something new and uniquely ours.
One aspect of that ceremony was our ketubah-like-document, the contract we wrote to articulate our commitment to one another. My friend Jaimie Cohn Sadeh created artwork that illustrates our mixed marriage – you know, because Keith is from the west coast, and I am from the east coast (a difference that has, incidentally, caused far greater strife in our marriage than our upbringings.)
Here’s what it says (more or less – I had a really hard time typing the Hebrew):
On the twenty first day of the month of July, in the year Two Thousand and Two, Keith Joseph Lepine, son of Carol and Paul, and Amy Beth Meltzer, daughter of Judith and Daniel, entered into a covenant of marriage, declaring:
I vow to place my relationship with you above all else – to be your lifelong friend and companion and to cherish the whole we have become.
I promise to honor the person you are – to see and treasure your gifts, support you in your life’s challenges, and encourage your growth. For you are the one to whom I have given my heart,
I will also honor the person you fell in love with – to care of my whole self and preserve my individual character. For I am the one to whom you have given your heart.
I pledge to create and sustain a complete and profound intimacy – to honestly share my deepest feelings and thoughts and enable you to do the some.
We will establish a loving home dedicated to peace, hope and respect for all people, always in thoughtful dialogue with the traditions of our ancestors.
In giving you this ring, I joyfully enter into this covenant.
I will love you until my last breath.