Editor’s Note


I love weddings. I’m always drawn to the back-stories and the abundance of hope. As summer approaches, we thought to take a serious and thoughtful look at the ritual terrain.

We’re pleased to welcome several new contributors to our pages. Rabbi Shai Held looks at the theology of marriage, and historian Jonathan D. Sarna, a member of our editorial advisory board, shares the details of an unusual 1782 wedding. Jessica Hammerman, a graduate student in European history who is writing her dissertation on Algerian Jewry, found inspiration for her own recent wedding in Algerian history and culture. Adina Kay-Gross tells of her own wedding last year, when her father was the officiant, and Ari Goldman reports on his adventures under the chupah, as an acting rabbi.

Back to the sources, Diane Cole rereads the Song of Songs, Rabbi Jeremy Rosen looks to the Bible and Michael Epstein illuminates ketubot, or wedding contracts. Taffy Brodesser-Akner offers an uncommon twist on marriage and observance, and Rabbi Joanna Samuels examines how the values of the wedding ceremony inform a marriage. On the darker side, Elicia Brown updates us on the plight of the agunah, or anchored wife. Jerome A. Chanes, in Journal Watch, adds scholarship to romance.

The handsome and happy bride and groom on the cover are my parents, Muriel and Jack Brawarsky, on their wedding day, filled with characteristic optimism and good cheer. Later this month, we’ll celebrate their 63rd anniversary, and I wish them many, many more years together in joy, good health and strength. My own wedding photo—crossing West End Avenue—is at the left.

A postscript to last month’s issue on Shabbat: We’re grateful to Linda Zisquit of Artspace Gallery in Jerusalem for lending the stunning painting by Heddy Abramowitz, “Jerusalem Morning.” And thanks as always to our partners at Tabletmag.com who are celebrating their own first anniversary.