Bryan and Julie are an interfaith couple who are writing a blog about planning of their interfaith wedding. If you are planning your own interfaith ceremony, I suggest you check this out. Their story will give you a perspective on some of the issues and decisions one couple went through, such as:
I often ask my customers why they choose one of my designs for their ketubah. Here’s one response from Julie and Stephen:
We searched and looked around and all the traditional ketubahs looked very much the same. We wanted something beautiful but different to hang in our home and we have very modern taste. We both love photographs so your artwork matched exactly what we were looking for.
I was recently asked:
My wife and I were married almost 20 years ago. Our ketubah was not protected well and has tears along its edges and is beginning to frey. Would our ketubah be repairable?
While you might not be able to repair the existing damage, you can prevent it from being damaged further. This is not a service I do, but I think you could find help at a good quality frame shop. Look for someone who has experience in framing old prints, because they might be able to help you frame it in a way that preserves it better. One way they can preserve the ketubah would be to sandwich it between two sheets of acetate (so that it is “floating”) and then frame it. This would keep the frayed ends secure, protect it from UV light (to mimimize further yellowing), and keep the ketubah from getting damaged further. They might recommend that you dry-mount it to a board. This would definitely make it more secure, but would also be something you couldn’t un-do, so I’d be careful about that. Whatever they do, make sure they use archival materials, and ask to see samples of the technique. And, reinforce to them that your ketubah is irreplaceable.
Another option you might consider is getting your ketubah scanned. The graphic artist could retouch the scan, cleaning up all signs of damage, and print a new copy on acid-free paper. You could then put away your original ketubah to keep it safe, and use the new cleaner copy to hang on your wall.
The Jewish Journal has a well-written article on interfaith families called “Jewish parent + Christian parent = Jewish kids” by Amy Klein. (Thanks to InterfaithFamily.com for the link.) The article talks with number of couples, discussing what it means to be an interfaith family. It goes on to make an excellent point:
“…despite the Jewish community’s decades-long panic that shrinking population figures are a direct result of intermarriage, recent studies and anecdotal evidence are finding that interfaith families could be more of an asset than an enemy.”
As part of an interfaith family myself, I think this point cannot be overstated. Too often, discussions about interfaith marriage focus on the fear of what might happen instead of looking at the reality of what is. I believe that interfaith families are a rich and dynamic resource for any community. The decision to intermarry is not a simple one, requiring thought, discussion and self-awareness. This means that interfaith couples often have a better understanding of the importance of their traditions than many non-interfaith couples. Ever since my wife and I first met, we have had more and better discussions about religion, family, tradition, and spirituality than we ever had before. The idea of marrying someone from a different background forced us to reconnect with our traditions, examine long-held assumptions, and began to determine what is really important to us. This conversation has continued as our children have been born, continually enriching our lives and (hopefully) enriching our children’s lives. Interfaith couples are actively engaged with their religion like few others, and I believe that any religion that openly accepts interfaith families will only become the richer for it. I’m glad to see that more Jewish communities are realizing this.
The Committee on Jewish Law and Standard, which provides guidance to the Conservative Judaism movement, made a ruling on accepting gay Rabbis and on recognizing gay unions. It was a split vote, from what I understands means that it is being left to the individual synagogues to make the decision for themselves. For more information on this important yet controversial decision, check out the following articles:
December is always an interesting time for interfaith families. With so many holidays to celebrate, it’s never simple. But I’ve discovered that this complexity has brought an unexpected richness to this time of year. As our son grows from an infant with no idea of what is going on, to a little boy fascinated by everything, we’ve had to constantly rethink how we celebrate the holidays. This has lead to constant discussions about our different traditions, and what they mean to us. Do we have a Christmas tree? Who lights the menorah? And the big question: what about Ruldoph? While some people might cringe at all that talking, we’ve found that it has not only made us better understand our spouse’s traditions, it has helped us grow to appreciate our own even more. We have decided that even though our kids will be raised Jewish, they will not be raised in a vacuum. We’ll raise them with an understanding and appreciation of both sets of traditions. Our house will have both a tree and a menorah, because that is who we are — an interfaith family with double the tradition of most families. We will teach them that that extra richness is a blessing, and not something to be hidden. It helps that our extended family not only supports us, but looks to our interfaith family as a great excuse to throw even more holiday parties. Celebrating both holidays enriches our family, and makes this time of year with its blending of tradition and family even more special and meaningful.
Happy Holidays, Happy Hannukah, and Merry Christmas to you all.
For a variety of perspectives on the holiday, you might want to check out InterfaithFamily.com’s December Holiday Resource Page.
I want to share with you a bit of advice my wife and I were given on our wedding day. After months of frantic planning, the day had finally arrived., not without a little stress. A good friend of ours pulled us aside. She told us to take a moment in the middle of the reception, to stop worrying about which tables you visited or if the dessert tray was on time. Instead, go to the edge of the hall, and just watch the party for a few minutes. Look at all of your friends and family, gathered together, and having fun. Take a moment to realize how much they are enjoying this event that you created together.
That’s it, that’s the advice. And it was the best advice we had. As my wife and I realized, a wedding is the only party when the guest of honor is expected to do all the planning — but never forget that YOU are the guest of honor, not the host. Once the day comes, forget all the plans, and be sure to relax, breathe, and enjoy the day.