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New Reform wedding edition confronts same-sex ceremonies

JTA

August 16, 2012 | 10:22 am

Photo by Brian Johnson

Photo by Brian Johnson

A new edition of a user-friendly guide to making a modern Jewish wedding has changed its approach to same-sex weddings.

Rabbi Hara Person, publisher and director of CCAR Press, which publishes books for the Reform movement, said the new edition of “Beyond Breaking the Glass: A Spiritual Guide to Your Jewish Wedding,” which was published originally in 2001, contains many updates and revisions, but the biggest change is regarding same-sex marriages.

“Whereas in the older edition, the term ‘commitment ceremony’ was used throughout the book, and same-sex ceremonies were discussed differently than ‘regular’ weddings, in this edition we do not differentiate for the most part,” Person said. “A wedding is a wedding, whether it is between a man and woman, or two men or two women. “

Person said the book also includes liturgical options for ceremonies between same-sex couples or couples involving transgendered persons.

“It is important to note how much things have changed in these respects since the first edition now that some states have legalized gay marriage and it has become so much accepted overall—after all, even the president has spoken out in support,“ Person said. “This change of attitude is reflected in the book.”

Person said that while there are still many specific choices that are up to the rabbi based on his or her interpretation of Jewish tradition, the book is meant to be a conversation starter. 

“It’s meant to be used as a book for rabbis to give to couples so that they can become more knowledgeable about Jewish weddings, the tradition of Jewish weddings,” she said. “It gives them creative options for certain parts of the ceremony.”

Person said that other changes include an appendix focusing on how to write a wedding booklet (to hand out at the ceremony), new photographs that show a large range of types of couples, an updated design, a completely revised and more usable checklist, and new references to subjects such as making your wedding reflect your values, for example by serving organic food.

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