New Twists on Tying the Knot

Couples across the country are infusing their Jewish wedding with creative new rituals. Consider these three examples:

1. Ron and Dr. Joellyn Zollman of Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego wanted both sides of their family to connect to one another, so they asked their mothers—one in Pennsylvania and one in California—to embroider pieces of matching fabric that would be combined to form their wedding canopy. A few days before the wedding, the two mothers worked together to stitch together their handcrafted huppah.

2. For Dr. Joshua Cooper and his fiancée Heather Stoneberg-Henry of Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City, it was important to have a wedding “that reflected my desire to convert—and also involve our loved ones,” says Heather. A graduate student pursuing a degree in creative writing, Heather wrote a two-act, seven-scene play based on the biblical conversion story in the Book of Ruth. The play itself was the ceremony: it featured the appropriate blessings; roles and costumes for Josh and Heather’s friends and family; and finally, in the play’s last scene, the exchange of vows. “Between scenes, my father, who used to sing professionally, chanted the entire Book of Ruth,” says Josh. “It not only gave my father a crucial role in my wedding, but it gave Heather’s family the chance to hear Hebrew for the very first time.”

3. And as part of their wedding celebration, Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg, assistant rabbi of Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue, Washington, and Rabbi Seth Goldstein honored Yohanna’s father, Rabbi Myron Kinberg, z”l, who had worked passionately for social justice, by distributing homemade tzedakah boxes (plain aluminum children’s banks decorated with printed labels) as party favors and asking each guest to use them to collect funds for their favorite charity. “It was wonderful to see the tzedakah boxes displayed when we went to visit friends and family,” Yohanna says. Since then, she says, many friends who attended the wedding have adopted the custom, creating tzedakah boxes for their own wedding guests.


From Reform Judaism magazine, published by the Union for Reform Judaism, Spring 2005; used by permission


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Ritualwell content is available for free thanks to the generous support of readers like you! Please help us continue to offer meaningful content with a donation today. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Rituals

Shop Ritualwell - Discover unique Judaica products

The Reconstructionist Network

Serving as central organization of the Reconstructionist movement

Training the next generation of groundbreaking rabbis

Modeling respectful conversations on pressing Jewish issues

Curating original, Jewish rituals, and convening Jewish creatives

Count On Telling Your Story: A Ritualwell In-Person Immersion

Join us for Count On Telling Your Story: A Ritualwell In-Person Immersion on Sunday, June 9th. Mix and mingle with old and new friends, enjoy delicious kosher-vegetarian food and engage in a variety of creative, thought-provoking sessions exploring rituals, writing, and art.

Get the latest from Ritualwell

Subscribe for the latest rituals, online learning opportunities, and unique Judaica finds from our store.

The Reconstructionist Network