If one were to accept that a kosher Jewish wedding needs some element of what the Mishnah calls “acquisition” (and, more or less, we accepted this to be the case), any wedding must be conscientious in rethinking the following questions: What exactly is “acquisition” in the Mishnah’s eyes? And, if “acquisition” is inherently offensive to our sensibilities, how can we lessen the role that “acquisition” plays in a kosher wedding? . . .
When Jonah Rank and Raysh Weiss intended to finalize the words of the “Seven Blessings” (Sheva Berakhot, שֶֽׁבַע בְּרָכוֹת) that their friends and family members would offer them on their big day, they attempted to preserve the most widespread Ashkenazic version of these seven nuptial blessings with which their Jewish marital status would be effected. However, they attempted to avoid phrases that would limit the gender or sex of the blessings’ referents. Additionally, they sought to ensure that their blessings focused on the happiness of the occasion at hand. . . .
“A Tkhine for a Kaleh before the Khupe” by an unknown author is a faithful transcription of the version published in Rokhl m’vakoh al boneho (Rokhel Weeps for her Children), Vilna, 1910. I have transcribed it without any changes from The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. . . .
A teshuvah (responsum) on, and text of, a ketubbah whereby a groom acquires a bride, and a ketubbah whereby a bride acquires a groom. . . .
This completely egalitarian ketubah uses nedarim, vows before God which bear the full weight of Jewish law, as the central act of marriage, and uses the rings as symbols of those vows. It also details the steps which would be necessary to dissolve those nedarim, an important and integral part of the ketubah. The Hebrew is written in the feminine plural and should be adjusted if the text is used for different gender combinations. . . .
On [day of the week] of the [day of the month] of the month of [month] in the year [year], as we count here in [location], behold, the soul of [name of one member of the couple] and the soul of [name of the other member of the couple] wrote one to the other in documents indicating that the entirety of each soul is consecrated one to the other in accordance with the law of Moses and Israel. They both shall serve, cherish, sustain, and support one another, in accordance with the laws of the Jews. Behold, all that which is written above has been accepted upon these two souls in the valid manner of interconnecting souls. All of the above is in proper, good standing. . . .
A translation of the Seven Blessings shared just in time for Shavuot, and in honor of several of my friend’s weddings. . . .
This prayer is based on the personal prayer said on holidays before Torah reading. The grammar has been adapted as plural rather than singular, so that the couple says the prayer together before their ritual of Kiddushin (betrothal). . . .
Creator of heaven and earth, may it be Your will to free the captive wives of Israel when love and sanctity have fled the home, but their husbands bind them in the tatters of their ketubot. Remove the bitter burden from these agunot and soften the hearts of their misguided captors. Liberate Your faithful daughters from their anguish. Enable them to establish new homes and raise up children in peace. Grant wisdom to the judges of Israel; teach them to recognize oppression and rule against it. Infuse our rabbis with the courage to use their power for good alone. Blessed are you, Creator of heaven and earth, who frees the captives. . . .