epub Sh'ma epub

by Vanessa L. Ochs

This issue of Sh'ma focuses on Jewish weddings. We take an old legal formulation of marriage, a social norm, and air it out according to new Jewish sensibilities. Kiddushin — the betrothal part of a wedding ceremony — is about acquisition. When faced with decisions about wedding ceremonies, some people engage the inequities of the betrothal head on and devise new rituals; others keep the traditional texts in Hebrew and Aramaic but provide creative translations in English; and others feel comfortable enough or choose not to focus on the gender disparity. The commotion around kiddushin — new textual language and experimentation with ritual — are examples of Judaism as a work in progress. Danya Ruttenberg opens up the issue with some background on Kiddushin; Vanessa Ochs offers a personal reflection on her wedding some 37 years ago; Karen Miller Jackson writes on the chuppah; Jane Kanarek on double-ring ceremonies. We have a Roundtable with a number of newly ordained rabbis about officiating at a wedding ceremony and two pieces on weddings in Israel: Naamah Kelman and Haviva Ner-David. Melanie Malka Landau writes about ending a marriage; Steven Greenberg and Ayelet Cohen write about new possibilities for same-sex marriage. Jonathan Schorsch writes our final column in this year's "Smashing Avram's father's idols" and Tali Biale writes the final column in this year's series on the ethics of kashrut. Much more inside and under the chuppah.

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