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Over on ReformJudaism.org today, I’m sharing the story of how my fiancé Ben and I are navigating wedding planning – not just finding a photographer, booking a venue, and choosing my wedding dress but also determining how to handle Jewish tradition.
We both feel it’s was important to have a “Jewish wedding,” but what does that mean? And how do we do that?
In her book The Jewish Wedding Now, released as an update to the original 1985 edition (then titled The New Jewish Wedding), bestselling author Anita Diamant walks readers through what it means to have a Jewish wedding in the modern era. She provides the history of Jewish traditions and offers new interpretations for the bedeken (ritual veiling of the bride), the Sheva B’rachot (the Seven Blessings recited under the wedding canopy), the mikveh (ritual bath), and more.
The Jewish Wedding Now has been a comfort and a source of inspiration as I plan, reassuring me that we can indeed have modern, feminist interpretations of old traditions. Our wedding should be a reflection of who we are. As Diamant writes, “To be emotionally and spiritually authentic, our weddings need to synthesize the sum total of our experience, which includes the reality of our daily lives.”
As we prepare to stand under the chuppah (wedding canopy) and start the rest of our life together, it is so easy to get caught up in all the trappings of the 21st-century wedding. But this, I imagine Diamant telling me, is the Jewish wedding now. Have your peonies, overcooked filet mignon, a group singalong to Journey – but also have a chuppah, break the glass, and say the Seven Blessings. Be intentional about including Judaism not just in your wedding but in your life.
You can read my story over on ReformJudaism.org – but if you want to dig deeper on this topic, as I do, join congregational leaders across North America on October 29 for a pre-Biennial event titled “How Successful Congregations Embrace Change: A URJ Day of Learning,” which will include a live interview with Anita Diamant on The Jewish Wedding Now and the changing landscape of Judaism. In small group discussions, attendees will explore how, inspired by Anita, we can be change agents in our own congregations.