Love and Marriage

The handout from this evening's class can be found here.

We will discuss the extent to which the Song of Songs material establishes several important Jewish wedding themes (romantic love, the seasons, etc.)  Some of its famous words also provide the lyrics to several popular Jewish wedding songs

We'll also touch on JDate ( - suffice it to say, it is the place to go for Jews intent on meeting other Jews online.  Do you know someone who has met their significant other there? 

I hope we'll also have time to talk about the actual content of a ketubah.  Check out sample ketubah texts here.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments about them.

In terms of the issue of intermarriage, everyone should take the time to look at the results of the 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS) - the unofficial American Jewish census (done every 10 years).  Its section on intermarriage begins here.  In terms of resources for interfaith families, I would reiterate my suggestion of  A more academic look at the question of Jewish identiy and intermarriage can be found here.

As far as wedding receptions go, check out the video clip below.  It's a montage of wedding reception scenes from the 1926 black and white film "Benya Krik" about Jewish life in Odessa, and the 1969 film "Goodbye Columbus" (based on the famous Roth novel of the same name). 

A question for us to consider: If a couple is actively seeking to have a Jewish wedding ceremony, to what extent should that particular wedding reception also reflect Jewish values and norms? How might this impact scheduling of the wedding? Menu of the wedding? Lavishness of the wedding? Etc etc etc.


  1. The classic from Fiddler on the Roof. - Jennifer :)

  2. When actively seeking to have a Jewish wedding ceremony, it is in my opinion that the reception should also reflect and incorporate Jewish values and norms. I think the largest issue people might have is with the scheduling of a traditional Jewish wedding, which I believe is typically on a Sunday so as to avoid impeding on the Sabbath. This does create an issue for a guest who might have to travel for the wedding and may then need to take a day off of work on Monday. Aside from the difference from the American tradition in scheduling, it seems rather easy to incorporate other traditions and values such as offering kosher meals, blessing the Challah and the Hora dance. Those are just the traditions that I am familiar with, but I would be interested to know more about the significance concerning the lavishness of the reception and how that reflects in Jewish values and norms.- Scottie

  3. In Reform Judaism, what is considered to be a "Jewish" wedding and reception can take on many different forms.

    From what I can tell, it is up to the couple and Rabbi marrying them to decide which customs and norms will be part of their ceremony. Some of the choices that will need to be made are whether or not to have a Chuppah, how much Hebrew to include in the ceremony, whether or not the bride will circle the groom seven times, the breaking of the class, whether or not to wear Yarmulkes, whether or not the bride and groom will see each other the week before, and also whether you will do a Ketubah signing. For the wedding reception, choices need to be made on whether or not to have Kosher food (and also if you will have chicken and fish which are Jewish traditions) and if you will dance the Hora. And lastly, if you are getting married on a Saturday, you need to decide with the Rabbi whether or not you will wait until sundown for Shabbat to end which could make dinner and the reception very late if your wedding is in the Summer.

  4. Tuesday is the favored day for marriage in some Orthodox circles because the Bible repeats the words ki tov, "[and God saw] that is was good" (Genesis 1:10-12), in referring to the third day of Creation. Tuesday is the third day of the week.