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Calling all PSers with Jewish ceremony elements!

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KatyWI

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I am Jewish and my fiance is Catholic, and neither of us are really practicing, although I am more in tune with my faith than he is. Our goal is a secular ceremony with heartfelt and meaningful elements from both religions (i.e. the chuppah, glass breaking, peace handshake, etc)

Did anyone out there build their own chuppah? Do you have pictures/tips? It''s really important to me to have one, and I don''t really want to rent it, if I even CAN rent one.

And does anyone have tips on little things I can pull in to make the ceremony more personal? I''d like some kind of compromise between writing my own ceremony completely, and using something totally "stock"?
 

AmberGretchen

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Katy,

my mom and I made my chuppah, with a little help from my brother. We got some really nice ivory-colored high quality silk and cut a large rectangle. Then I hand-painted a cherry blossom branch and some Hebrew words on it. Then we attached a small overhang to each of the four sides. My mom put a loop in each corner, and we purchased plan wood poles from Home Depot and stained the wood. Voila - chuppah
I''ll see if I can find a picture somewhere.

Other Jewish elements of the ceremony I really liked - the seven blessings (can be read in English by those close to you), and the Ketubah or marriage contract - you can find really beautiful ones and its a nice thing to hang in your home to remind you of your wedding day and your commitment to each other. Plus I liked the history - they are originally from the Middle Ages and were used to protect the woman''s rights on entering marriage, guaranteeing that she would still have clothing, shelter, safety from being beaten by her husband, etc...otherwise she had a right to dissolve the union. Pretty unusual in those days.

The other thing we did during our ceremony that I liked - there is a blessing that basically says that not only does the officiant bless the union, but all the assembled guests do so as well, in recognition of the fact that marriages ideally need a community in which to survive and thrive.
 

JerseyGrl81

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Joined
Jul 12, 2008
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371
I am in a very similar situation to you. My fiance is Catholic and I am Jewish. Neither of us is super religious, but I practice a little more than he does. This is one of the main reasons we chose to have a destination wedding, so that we can avoid most of the religious aspects. Since the wedding is in Bermuda and there are no Rabbi''s on the island, I think we will have a non-dominational minister perform the ceremony and incoporate aspects such as the chuppah and breaking of the glass, but not a lot. I went to a wedding of a friend of mine with a similar situation and they had a minister and rabbi perform the ceremony- it was great. Another friend in the same situation had her cantor perform the ceremony. I am on my way out- but I will post more later!
 

AmberGretchen

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Sorry the resolution on these isn''t great, but it gives a sense - you can definitely make your own Chuppah if you want to:

chuppahshot22.jpg
 

neatfreak

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Date: 4/15/2009 11:37:21 AM
Author: AmberGretchen

The other thing we did during our ceremony that I liked - there is a blessing that basically says that not only does the officiant bless the union, but all the assembled guests do so as well, in recognition of the fact that marriages ideally need a community in which to survive and thrive.
We did this too. My DH was raised quaker so it was a common theme in both religions. We also had EVERYONE sign our Ketubah which is a Quaker thing too-basically means that everyone there is responsible for the success of the marriage by signing the contract.

As for the ceremony we found ones we liked online and copied and pasted various parts that we liked. Worked very well.
 

SapphireLover

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Jan 12, 2009
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http://kvetch.indiebride.com/index.php?t=msg&th=6936&start=0&rid=19750&S=3b8783733d7d2ff51726f267b46cb353

This thread might be useful for you!
 

jstarfireb

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Joined
Mar 24, 2007
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6,231
I don't know if this counts, since neither he nor I are Jewish (my paternal grandmother was, but my dad is agnostic). I'm using a Hebrew love song in my ceremony - Erev Shel Shoshanim. It will be sung between readings by a female soloist. What I love about the song is its unapologetic sensuality, with lines like "Your lips are as roses unto the morning / I will pick them for myself."
 

CNOS128

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Jan 28, 2008
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We''re having a chuppah, a ketubah, a glass to smash (actually, my mom ordered us a colored glass that can be sent back to the company and incorporated into a mezuzah, menorah or picture frame after the wedding).

A friend of mine sent ivory fabric squares to her friends to decorate and send back, and then she sewed all the squares together and used that as the cloth for the chuppah -- it was beautiful!
 

KatyWI

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Nov 20, 2008
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Thanks so much everyone... this has been helpful.

AmberGretchen, thanks so much for the pics! Your chuppah was lovely. My mother sews like a fiend, so I am hoping to enlist her help with the canopy :)

neatfreak, how did the Ketubah look once it was signed by everyone? Would you mind sharing a picture of it?

Thanks SapphireLover! Everything helps at this point!!

jstarfireb - I'm not having traditional music at the ceremony, or I would totally steal that from you. It's gorgeous! We'll be outside in a park and the budget is bursting at the seams already, so soloists and the like are right out. Ipod over the PA will be the best I can do!


TheBigT - Oh wow, that is a FABULOUS idea with the colored glass!!! Do you know what the name of the company is?? And I already brought the quilt-style chuppah up with my mom and she is VERY not interested... she makes the point that not many of our close friends/family are artistic, and we wouldn't want an ugly chuppah up there! Of course, I feel that no matter what it looked like, the sentiments contained would make it beautiful, but I try to appease my mom where I can!
 

smiles

Shiny_Rock
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Nov 5, 2007
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202
Hi Katy! I think if you want to incorporate a few really meaningful things making your own chuppah and getting a ketubah which you can then keep are way up there! My mom is making my sister and her FI a chuppah and incorporating things into it that are meaningful to them. For example, my FBIL is a cantor and sang the song jstar referred to, to my sister during his propsal so she the border and centre are the sheet music/pictoral reference to that. As well, she has their monogram on it etc... I don''t know how artistic you are but making one yourself would be a beautiful idea. ketubah.com has lots of beautifyl ketubahs which can be displayed as artowrk and im sure if you google chuppah you can buy beatuiful ones as well (if you are not artistic). I am going to try to upload a pic of the one my mom is making... I apologize if it doesn''t work.

Good Luck with whatever you decide I am sure it will be a beautiful ceremony!

P.S. This is a chuppah in progress so there is extra material and stuff all around!
 

smiles

Shiny_Rock
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Nov 5, 2007
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202
hope this works!
ETA: there will be pole hoops in the 4 corners and will be on plain wood poles covered in flowers... or something TBD.... ignore the dining room background!

chuppahinprogress158643752643.jpg
 

AmberGretchen

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Date: 4/15/2009 12:30:48 PM
Author: neatfreak
Date: 4/15/2009 11:37:21 AM

Author: AmberGretchen


The other thing we did during our ceremony that I liked - there is a blessing that basically says that not only does the officiant bless the union, but all the assembled guests do so as well, in recognition of the fact that marriages ideally need a community in which to survive and thrive.

We did this too. My DH was raised quaker so it was a common theme in both religions. We also had EVERYONE sign our Ketubah which is a Quaker thing too-basically means that everyone there is responsible for the success of the marriage by signing the contract.


As for the ceremony we found ones we liked online and copied and pasted various parts that we liked. Worked very well.
nf - I love the idea of having everyone sign the Ketubah, and the symbolism of it. That was a really lovely way to blend both your heritage in a meaningful, but not overwhelming, way
 

AmberGretchen

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Date: 4/15/2009 5:43:42 PM
Author: KatyWI
Thanks so much everyone... this has been helpful.


AmberGretchen, thanks so much for the pics! Your chuppah was lovely. My mother sews like a fiend, so I am hoping to enlist her help with the canopy :)
Thanks Katy! My mom is the same way - she used to make all the costumes for us when I did ballet as a child/teenager, and she is so talented. It really meant more because we worked on it together
 

buttercup80

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Aug 12, 2006
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Just to throw in some advice - I was thinking about having one of those colored glasses in my ceremony, too. My Rabbi AND the venue coordinator both advised that if we got one of those, to use a wrapped light bulb during the actual ceremony (breaks easiest,makes the noise) and then to take a hammer to the glass at another time... Apparently, the glasses are really thick so are more difficult to break AND the shards they produce are often thick and sharp and can go through the sole of a shoe - ouch!
 

CNOS128

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Jan 28, 2008
Messages
2,700
Good point, Buttercup. I even remarked to my mom when she showed the glass to me that it was REALLY thick!!

Katy, there are a bunch of websites that sell these glasses -- do a Google search for Shardz Wedding Glass, and you''ll find ''em!
 

neatfreak

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Date: 4/15/2009 5:43:42 PM
Author: KatyWI
neatfreak, how did the Ketubah look once it was signed by everyone? Would you mind sharing a picture of it?
Sure! I will try and find a more complete picture later but here are a few. This is us signing it. Our signatures went with our printed names up top-then there were lightly stenciled pencil lines (which we erased after) at the bottom for everyone to sign.

MIL gave us a GREAT idea to use sticky tabs to "reserve" the top lines for our parents, siblings, and my DH's grandmother-which was a fabulous idea because now all their signatures are on top. So those are the colored tabs you see in the picture.

Ours was fairly non-denominational and we had it handmade for us by some person in Lake George NY. I can't remember the name off the top of my head but I am sure I could find it for you.

Here's one for perspective on the entire thing:

IMG_3601weddingcontract.jpg
 

neatfreak

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Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
14,167
And here is a picture of what the signatures looked like at the bottom before we erased the lines. I had to blur them out because some are pretty clearly read.

It now hangs in our dining room and everyone who comes in comments on it. The dandelions at the bottom were the same ones from our invites and worked well as we had a casual outdoorsy/natural wedding.

Also-Monroe St. Framing did a fabulous job framing it for us-so I would go there afterwards to have it framed professionally. It's very well sealed so it won't warp or get ruined by humidity etc. Well worth it.

IMG_4044.jpg
 

KatyWI

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Joined
Nov 20, 2008
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755
Oh wow, neatfreak, that looks gorgeous. I love the simplicity of your Ketubah... The super elaborate ones are beautiful of course, but not really my style. I keep finding these mass-market Ketubahs that are really expensive and I'm sort of at a standstill there. Since we're having a smallish wedding with just family and close friends, I *love* the idea of having everyone sign it! And the pencil lines were a genius idea!!!

So basically what I'm saying is I would love the name of the person who did it for you, if you can find it.


buttercup, thanks for the heads up! What a fabulous idea!

And thanks, TheBigT! You ladies are a dream :)
 

neatfreak

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Date: 4/16/2009 10:18:48 AM
Author: KatyWI
Oh wow, neatfreak, that looks gorgeous. I love the simplicity of your Ketubah... The super elaborate ones are beautiful of course, but not really my style. I keep finding these mass-market Ketubahs that are really expensive and I''m sort of at a standstill there. Since we''re having a smallish wedding with just family and close friends, I *love* the idea of having everyone sign it! And the pencil lines were a genius idea!!!
I agree...most of them I saw were just too ornate or old fashioned. Our furniture and style is more modern and simple so we thought our marriage license should be too!

Took some sifting through old emails but I found it. I dealt with Terri and she was very very nice. Just sent her the text, chose a layout, and sent her the dandelion graphic and then she did the layout. You can also of course choose your colors-we just went neutral since we wanted it to blend with whatever color our decor was in the future.

The pencil lines were my MIL''s idea-which also was very smart! That way we didn''t end up with a bunch of blank lines leftover and we also made sure everyone wrote in a straight line. I also cannot recommend highly enough that you do the sticky tabs with the names of those most important to you on the lines you want them to sign.

We had a small wedding too (33 people)-and it was a big hit for everyone to sign.


http://www.documentsanddesigns.com/
 

Adah

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 21, 2009
Messages
112
I am Jewish and my h2b is unaffiliated and doesn''t believe in the divinity of Jesus and we will raised our future children in Jewish faith.

We will be having a civil ceremony as in Australia you cannot be married by a Rabbi, reform or not, if only one party is Jewish.

We will be having a chuppah, a ketubah, the reading of the seven blessings and he will breaking the glass.
 

ilovesparkles

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Joined
Feb 13, 2006
Messages
2,389
My BM made her ketubah and it now hangs over their bed as a canopy. It was absolutely gorgeous! And I plan on doing the exact same thing. Well, my mother is making mine. If you have some sewing skills and the patience, it can most definitely be done. I will try to find some pictures for you, but I''m not sure how successful I will be.

If you don''t want to, you can rent one, likely from a reform synagogue.
 

ilovesparkles

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 13, 2006
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Here is a picture of her chuppah. I think the poles are actual tree branches/logs but I don''t remember. And I don''t know what she used for the Hebrew in the center, but I am sure an iron on would work, or hand embroidery.

Other elements include the 7 circles with the 7 blessings. In Jewish weddings, usually both parents walk the bride and groom down the aisle. Before the ketubah signing and the ceremony the bride and groom have separate gatherings with their respective male and female quests. And then the groom is paraded into the bride''s room by his guests with singing and dancing, then the ketubah signing happens. After this the chuppah ceremony begins.

Two books I would also recommend to you are "The New Jewish Wedding" by Anita Diamant and "The Creative Jewish Wedding Book" byGabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

n144300751_30744347_6117.jpg
 
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