Wed­ded to change: Same sex cou­ples get their own ke­tubah

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY BARRY TOBERMAN

THE WORLD’S first mar­riage con­tract from a syn­a­gogue move­ment for same sex cou­ples will also be adapted for “those who pre­fer a non­bi­nary or gen­der neu­tral for­mat”.

Lib­eral Ju­daism’s Rab­binic Con­fer­ence has ap­proved three sets of word­ing for the new doc­u­ment — which it will of­fer along­side the tra­di­tional Lib­eral ke­tubah — cov­er­ing same sex male and same sex fe­male mar­riages and non-bi­nary/ gen­der neu­tral.

Tra­di­tional ke­tubot use gen­dered lan­guage, re­fer­ring to the bride and groom.

There has been sig­nif­i­cant de­mand for an al­ter­na­tive form of word­ing from cou­ples, in­clud­ing het­ero­sex­ual part­ners, and the move­ment’s rab­bis.

Pre­vi­ously, same sex cou­ples could speak to their rabbi about hav­ing a ke­tubah with ap­pro­pri­ate lan­guage. But there was no for­mal pol­icy.

The new ke­tubot were writ­ten by Lib­eral Ju­daism’s Rabbi Mark Solomon in con­sul­ta­tion with other Pro­gres­sive min­is­ters in Eng­land and abroad.

They rep­re­sent a con­tin­u­a­tion of Lib­eral Ju­daism’s Covenant of Love Ser­vice of Com­mit­ment for Same­Sex Cou­ples, which Rabbi Solomon edited in 2005 to co­in­cide with the in­tro­duc­tion of civil part­ner­ships in Bri­tain.

“LGBTQI+ mem­bers in­creas­ingly form an im­por­tant part of our com­mu­ni­ties and th­ese ke­tubot show that they are ac­cepted and recog­nised fully for who and what they are,” he

said. “On a wider sym­bolic level, we are also show­ing the world that Lib­eral Ju­daism stands for the great­est pos­si­ble in­clu­sion and ac­cep­tance of di­ver­sity.”

Rabbi Aaron Gold­stein chairs Lib­eral Ju­daism’s Rab­binic Con­fer­ence, which green-lighted the ke­tubot at its re­cent meet­ing.

Not­ing the “strong de­mand” for the al­ter­na­tive mar­riage con­tract, he added: “We have not launched the ke­tubot for a spe­cific cou­ple but be­cause it is right that mar­riage equal­ity in­cludes the use of ap­pro­pri­ate lan­guage.

“Our goal is that in­no­va­tion and in­clu­siv­ity should not be rad­i­cal but the nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion of Ju­daism’s cen­turies-old tra­di­tion.” Danny Rich, Lib­eral Ju­daism’s se­nior rabbi, said the ini­tia­tive “demon­strates that Lib­eral Ju­daism not only leads the cam­paign for in­clu­sion but seeks to of­fer equal­ity of op­por­tu­nity in all of its ma­te­ri­als.”

He hoped that other move­ments would, in time, fol­low suit.

The move has been wel­comed by cam­paign­ing group Keshet, which de­scribed it as “yet an­other step closer to achiev­ing full equal­ity for mem­bers of the LGBT+ Jewish com­mu­nity”.

Around 20 same sex wed­ding cer­e­monies are held an­nu­ally in UK Lib­eral syn­a­gogues.

There has been a strong de­mand for this’

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