My Jewish Wedding

Since starting my librarianship at the Nancy Mae Shaines Memorial Library at Temple Israel, I have been thirsting to know more and more. Surrounded by vast knowledge documented in so many worlds, I had trouble knowing where to begin. I remembered little from Hebrew school and had historic time frames confused. I began to pick up facts, peering through books I was supposed to be cataloging, and suddenly found a solid reason to study and a deadline to meet.

Deciding with a short time frame to embrace and display my Jewishness by integrating Jewish tradition into my upcoming wedding ceremony, I began to explore the library to learn what I could do.

Cover of Living a Jewish Life
Living a Jewish Life by Anita Diamant

My husband, a non-Jew, found a good book in Living a Jewish Life by Anita Diamant. He found it to be unassuming and interesting, giving a solid walk through the Jewish lifestyle and faith. As he asked me some questions about holidays, I realized I ought to give this book a read as well. I should be able to tell him more about Purim than dressing up, going to carnivals, and using noise-makers.

Cover of The New Jewish Wedding
The New Jewish Wedding by Anita Diamant

I found solace in Diamant’s comprehensive Jewish wedding book. It contains chapters on every aspect of a Jewish wedding, including everything from how to choose a rabbi and a Ketubah (marriage contract), to descriptions of Jewish songs, dances, and food for the reception.

Most importantly, however, Diamant gives a brief history of different traditions that let me put them in perspective, making it clear how little was necessary to make a marriage legally binding in Jewish law and helping me choose what elements I want to include.

Ian breaking our wedding glass
The wedding glass didn’t break! A photo of Ian breaking the replacement we called in!

My husband and I really bonded through this pre-wedding experience, making our own personal contracts upon suggestion from Rabbi Barry, and talking through which symbolic acts were most important to us as a couple. We even bought a beautiful blue bulb as a wedding glass so we could have the shards made into a mezuzah, but the darn thing wouldn’t break on the flexible boards of the rabbi’s deck. He was so kind to give us a light bulb with which to do the act!

My tallit as a chuppah
My tallit as a chuppah

We married under the tallit (prayer shawl) I received at my bat mitzvah, drinking from my kiddush cup and my sister’s, surrounded by our families and the glory of Great Bay… really everything I wanted! (Aside from the 5000 degree day and a whole bunch of horseflies haha)

Ian & me under the chuppah
Ian & Me under the chuppah
Our Ketubah: Hebrew and English text surrounded by roses
Our ketubah. Rabbi Barry read it aloud during the ceremony.
Our daughter, Cleo, looking at my shoes
Our daughter, Cleo, admiring all the shoes. She came right up to sing along with the rabbi’s blessings šŸ™‚

Published by Sara Lesley Arnold

Librarian and writer

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