Wedded to change: Same sex couples get their own ketubah
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’