My Jewish Wedding

Since starting my librarianship at the Nancy Mae Shaines Memorial Library at Temple Israel, I have been thirsting to know more and more. Surrounded by vast knowledge documented in so many worlds, I had trouble knowing where to begin. I remembered little from Hebrew school and had historic time frames confused. I began to pick up facts, peering through books I was supposed to be cataloging, and suddenly found a solid reason to study and a deadline to meet.

Deciding with a short time frame to embrace and display my Jewishness by integrating Jewish tradition into my upcoming wedding ceremony, I began to explore the library to learn what I could do.

Cover of Living a Jewish Life

Living a Jewish Life by Anita Diamant

My husband, a non-Jew, found a good book in Living a Jewish Life by Anita Diamant. He found it to be unassuming and interesting, giving a solid walk through the Jewish lifestyle and faith. As he asked me some questions about holidays, I realized I ought to give this book a read as well. I should be able to tell him more about Purim than dressing up, going to carnivals, and using noise-makers.

Cover of The New Jewish Wedding

The New Jewish Wedding by Anita Diamant

I found solace in Diamant’s comprehensive Jewish wedding book. It contains chapters on every aspect of a Jewish wedding, including everything from how to choose a rabbi and a Ketubah (marriage contract), to descriptions of Jewish songs, dances, and food for the reception.

Most importantly, however, Diamant gives a brief history of different traditions that let me put them in perspective, making it clear how little was necessary to make a marriage legally binding in Jewish law and helping me choose what elements I want to include.

Ian breaking our wedding glass

The wedding glass didn’t break! A photo of Ian breaking the replacement we called in!

My husband and I really bonded through this pre-wedding experience, making our own personal contracts upon suggestion from Rabbi Barry, and talking through which symbolic acts were most important to us as a couple. We even bought a beautiful blue bulb as a wedding glass so we could have the shards made into a mezuzah, but the darn thing wouldn’t break on the flexible boards of the rabbi’s deck. He was so kind to give us a light bulb with which to do the act!

My tallit as a chuppah

My tallit as a chuppah

We married under the tallit (prayer shawl) I received at my bat mitzvah, drinking from my kiddush cup and my sister’s, surrounded by our families and the glory of Great Bay… really everything I wanted! (Aside from the 5000 degree day and a whole bunch of horseflies haha)

Ian & me under the chuppah

Ian & Me under the chuppah

Our Ketubah: Hebrew and English text surrounded by roses

Our ketubah. Rabbi Barry read it aloud during the ceremony.

Our daughter, Cleo, looking at my shoes

Our daughter, Cleo, admiring all the shoes. She came right up to sing along with the rabbi’s blessings 🙂


Maccabiah Games 2013

At 16, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend six weeks in Israel, hiking, swimming, and touring (and clubbing!), all the while learning about my Jewish roots. At the end of the summer all the Young Judaea groups gathered for the 2-day Maccabiah games on the Sea of Galilee, where we competed against each other in obstacle courses, tug of war, and other feats of strength and skill.

I had no idea at that age of the existence of the legitimate Maccabiah games, an international sporting event that comes to Israel once every four years.

For the 2013 competition, international Jewish athletes have already arrived in Israel representing their home countries, in Olympic-like sports such as taekwondo (my fav!), badminton and basketball.

Tune in for a live stream of the opening ceremonies here on JLTV. It’s all starting tomorrow, July 18th at 1:00 ET, and the games continue through July 30th.

With Jews making their homes all around the world, I feel this is a great opportunity to show international unity… I’m definitely tuning in.

Visit the Nancy Mae Shaines Memorial Library this month to view books on Jewish athletes throughout history, on display now at Temple Israel Portsmouth.