As it’s been a year since I separated from my husband, and the divorce was finalized two months ago (A writ of divorce. Traditionally, only a man can grant his wife a get. Liberal Jews have amended this tradition, making divorce more egalitarian. still pending), I was feeling the need to ritualize the ending of the marriage in order to be able to move forward—much like placing the gravestone on a grave. I wanted the ceremony to involve Jewish elements, as well as blessings from my girlfriends for a strong new beginning.
I invited six friends, and we sat in a circle of chairs outside, surrounded by vases of flowers. I began by sharing photos of my wedding day. I then updated my friends on the current relationship between my ex and myself. Next, I read the Hazi The Aramaic memorial prayer for the dead. Mourners recite this prayer at every service, every day, in the presence of a minyan (prayer quorum) over the course of a year (for a parent) or thirty days (for a sibling or offspring). The prayer actually makes no mention of the dead, but rather prays for the sanctification and magnification of God's name., to symbolize the separation between my married and unmarried states. It also evoked saying the The Aramaic memorial prayer for the dead. Mourners recite this prayer at every service, every day, in the presence of a minyan (prayer quorum) over the course of a year (for a parent) or thirty days (for a sibling or offspring). The prayer actually makes no mention of the dead, but rather prays for the sanctification and magnification of God's name. for my marriage. Along the same lines of symbolizing separation between two phases, I then lit a Lit. Separation A ceremony performed on Saturday night to mark the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the week, using wine, a braided candle, and sweet-smelling spices. candle. I proceeded to use it to burn a corner of my The Jewish wedding contract. Traditionally, the ketubah protected the wife in marriage by spelling out the husband's obligations to her and guaranteeing her a financial settlement in case of divorce. Throughout the ages, ketubot (plural) have been illuminated and calligraphed, becoming significant as Jewish art. Today, all manner of egalitarian ketubot are written. Some dispense with the financial and legal aspects, focusing more on the emotional and spiritual sides of the relationship. Others maintain the rabbis' concern with the practical, but define mutual obligations for each spouse.. Finally, I smashed a glass. In contradistinction to the glass smashed at my marriage ceremony, this smashed glass symbolized the brokenness of the relationship and my intention to gather up my broken pieces and begin anew. I ended by ritualistically rinsing my feet and reading Naomi Levy’s “A Prayer for Healing from the Pain of Divorce” and “A Prayer for Wisdom for Divorced Parents” from her book, Talking to God.
My friends then offered blessings, ranging from the profane (“A wise woman once said, ‘Fuck this shit’ and lived happily ever after”) to the sacred (The poem “Transplanted,” by Rabbi Lavan's younger daughter and Jacob's beloved wife second wife (after he is initially tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah). Rachel grieves throughout her life that she is barren while Leah is so fertile. Ultimately, Rachel gives birth to Joseph and dies in childbirth with Benjamin. Rachel is remembered as compassionate (she is said to still weep for her children), and infertile women often invoke Rachel as a kind of intercessor and visit her tomb on the road to Bethlehem. Berenblat). We ended by dancing to Reb Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and chanting the Hashkiveinu prayer.