The Shape of Holiness

a ketubah with a voting badge hanging on the frame
When at age 21, I designed this ketubah,
the shapes were so important
concentric ovals for the seventh blessing
four corners with Jewish identity symbols
surrounded by a stylized square
The colors were so important
rainbow colors for the sheva brachot
royal blue for the traditional Aramaic text
pale yellow for the mat
The frame was so important
burnished bronze
with elaborate floral embellishments
in three expanding layers
All of this was so much more important to me
than what was served on the sweet table
or what the bridesmaids wore
or what song accompanied the first dance
When at age 70, I gaze at it, hanging on our bedroom wall
my eye focuses on the Voter Protection badge on a lanyard
that I hung from the frame
when I returned from my shift
of being a poll watcher in West Philly in 2022
Instead of color and shape and symbols or frame
I ponder what is holy
Yes preserving our pledge to each other before God
but holy is also preserving democracy
walking on the Pilgrimage for Peace
drying a grandchild’s tears
and listening to the repetition of my mother’s stories
night after night.

Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh


Image: The ketubah and voting badge described by the author

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