ContentsPreface to the New EditionFrom the AuthorIntroductionPART ONE:MAKING THE TRADITION YOUR OWNDECISIONS, DECISIONSThe Tradition of MarriageModern LifeMaking Jewish Choices PART TWOWAYS AND MEANSPLANNING THE WEDDINGChoosing a RabbiWhen and WhereInvitations and Wedding BookletsWedding Clothes, Wedding RingsThe KetubahThe HuppahThe ProcessionalWitnessesA Jewish Checklist PLANNING THE PARTYFood and DrinkLaughter, Music, and DancePhotographers and FlowersA NOTE ON REMARRIAGEPART THREECELEBRATIONS AND RITUALSBEFORE THE WEDDINGTenaim: Celebrating EngagementCelebrating CommunitySpiritual PreparationThe Wedding Day UNDER THE HUPPAHBetrothal: The Ring CeremonyVoices of Joy and GladnessNuptials: The Seven Marriage BlessingsFinales BLESSINGS FOR THE SIMCHABefore the MealConcluding the FestivitiesBirkat Hamazon -- Blessings after the Meal PART FOURCREATING A JEWISH HOMELIVING AS BRIDE AND GROOMA Jewish HomeTay Sachs and Allied DiseasesDivorce AppendicesNotesGlossaryIndex
IntroductionThere is no such thing as a "generic" Jewish wedding -- no matter what the rabbi tells you, no matter what your mother tells you, no matter what the caterer tells you.The rabbis who codified Jewish law, halakhah, made it so easy for couples to marry that the minimal requirements for carrying out a kosher Jewish wedding can be summed up in a few words: the bride accepts an object worth more than a dime from the groom, the groom recites a ritual formula of acquisition and consecration, and these two actions must be witnessed. That constitutes a Jewish wedding; the rest of the traditions associated with Jewish weddings -- the canopy, the seven wedding blessings, the breaking of a glass, even the presence of a rabbi -- are customs. Custom -- in Hebrew, minhag -- changes over time and differs from one nation to the next. Some Jewish wedding customs have been discarded and forgotten, and some persist with even greater symbolic and emotional power than the religious prescriptions.Customs change to meet the needs and express the concerns of people in different eras and situations. Over the centuries the Jewish wedding has been celebrated with countless variations in ritual and minhag. It is a dynamic and flexible tradition, and it is yours to explore and recreate."To be a Jew in the twentieth century is to be offered a gift," wrote the poet Muriel Rukeyser. Many non-Orthodox Jews tend to believe that this gift belongs really and authentically only to traditionalists. This is simply not true. Orthodox Jews have no lock on Judaism, and this book documents how liberal Jews have been inspired by old practices -- the ketubah, for example -- to create new forms of piety and celebration.The New Jewish Wedding contains references to biblical, Talmudic, halakhic, and mystical texts, stories, as well as prayers, poems, and descriptions of ways creative Jews celebrate marriage in the 21st century. All this is offered as a resource for people who are interested in exploring Judaism's mythic, historic, religious, gastronomic, musical, and literary "gifts" to discover what the tradition offers them today, here and now, at this threshold in their lives.This is not a wedding etiquette book. Etiquette books are rather like insurance policies against doing things "wrong." They presume to instruct you in the "right" way, with the implied warning that if you do not follow the conventions properly you'll be committing terribly embarrassing mistakes. The New Jewish Wedding is a minhag book that describes the customs and rituals that American Jews are reviving and reinventing to express themselves within a four-thousand-year-old tradition. Furthermore, this book assumes that both partners care about what happens at their wedding, so it is addressed to both members of the couple -- not just to the bride.The New Jewish Wedding is organized to help you become the architect of your own Jewish wedding. The first section, "Making the Tradition Your Own," lays the foundation for the many choices -- some big and some little -- you are about to make. It puts your wedding in context, which includes not only Jewish history, theology, and generations-old custom but also the concerns of modern life. Every marriage is a merger of individuals and families, and every merger creates friction. Accommodating both modern sensibilities and a four-thousand-year-old system of beliefs creates even more friction. Transforming...
Anita Diamant (Author)
Anita Diamant is the bestselling author of the novels The Red Tent, Good Harbor, and The Last Days of Dogtown, as well as the collection of essays, Pitching My Tent. An award-winning journalist whose work has appeared regularly in The Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting, she is the author of six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life. She lives in Massachusetts. Her most recent novel is Day After Night. Visit her website at www.anitadiamant.com.