Ketubah or Not to Ketubah

Now that we’ve decided to go forth with the amazing Rabbi that we recently had the honor of meeting, the details of the ceremony come into play. The tug of war has begun with the give and take of specific aspects to be put in, left out and transformed. I’m cool with the Chuppah. I’m down with the breaking of the glass. Mostly because I like to yell “Mazeltov!”. It just rolls so nicely off the tongue, how can one resist? However, there are a few aspects that I really get hung-up on like the Ketubah.

The Ketubah or marriage contract is one of the more significant components within a Jewish wedding. Back in the day the Ketubah basically was a guarantee in writing that the man would provide for the woman’s needs and if he divorced her then he had to pay a specified sum of money to ensure her well being. In other words, it’s just like a modern day government issued marriage license but with a bit of a sexist edge. That’s a whole ‘nother post so we’ll just ignore that little piece…

Here in lies my dilemma. We weren’t going to get legally married on principle because we believe that everyone has the right to love who they want and in-turn should be able to marry who they want. In representation of our beliefs, we had decided not to marry until our friends could marry. Having our son Raiden enter our lives completely changed that ideology on a strictly legal level.

Either way, we were going to have a wedding to celebrate our love for one another and our life together. The legal representation of it was not important to us. That is until we found out that there is a ton of red tape to cut through just to ensure full legal rights to one another without it. Even if we somehow figured out a way around not getting officially married, it wouldn’t actually guarantee anything. So, we could go that route or we could just get legally married and have it done in one easy step. With the future of our son at stake, we weren’t willing to take any chances. So, hello marriage license goodbye good intentions. We had to choose our battles and unfortunately lost this one.

This brings us to the Ketubah. It holds no legal significance other than in Jewish Law. For me, Jewish Law has no bearing other than in respect for Alx and his family. For Alx, Jewish Law is circumstantial. So, Alx wouldn’t mind having a Ketubah. I’m not sure if I mind. I mean it’s just another contract, right? So what is my hesitance? I think it stems from that fact that a piece of paper means nothing when it comes to my love for Alx. We have already confessed our love and commitment to each other. We have been calling ourselves husband and wife for years, frankly because we have been living in matrimony. We don’t see our son as being born out of wedlock at all. The commitment was and is already there. The rest is just formality.

Our Rabbi has suggested that we have a Ketubah because it would be a great place to bring together all that is us. It can be as creative and unique as we want it to be. It can encompass all aspects of our culture, selves and family. Whether it be two-dimensional, three-dimensional, in English, Hebrew or Japanese, it could be the embodiment of everything of importance to us.

Streets of Desire by Micah Parker

 Streets of Desire by Micah Parker

Well, when you put it that way, why NOT have a Ketubah? I mean really, it sounds right up my alley but I still have this little itch in the back of my brain that just doesn’t want it. I’m not sure what’s causing the itch or even if it’s significant, but it is really annoying. I’m confident that our Rabbi can help me scratch it but do I want to? This must be the nature of weddings or any other major event for that matter.

Maybe I’ll give a bit of slack or maybe I’ll tug a bit towards my end. Either way, I’m sure we’ll figure it out but there’s no one I’d rather be playing with than Alx. That’s the most important aspect to me.

Why Can We Be Married?

I feel like Lu and I are hitting our stride on all things wedding related and I couldn’t feel better about it.  We have just finished the last of our meetings with some amazing rabbis, we have our tasting with Diverse Catering next week, and we have decided that I will be wearing a tux.  Check. Check. And Check.

Oh happy day!

There has been something that has come up many times in our rabbi meetings that I have just been itching to call attention to.

Lu and I decided a few years ago that we would not be married until ALL of our friends could be married.  It was a conscious decision to wait until all was fair in the world and equal opportunity existed.  Well.  Fast forward to the “age of Raiden” and we find ourselves more willing to make a legal commitment to each other.  The truth is that we don’t want to pass on the benefits that are available for married couples, especially where the little dude is involved.  So instead of feeling guilty about it, we are just going to except the fact that we are hetero-sexual-enough to be legally married.  And do it.

So why, may I ask, may we be married?

The reality is that I don’t have the answer.  I mean.  We are two people who have built our lives together.  Started a family.  Have a few pets.  We have fun, we laugh, we cry.  We live together as life partners, for better—for worse.  Ready for every up and down that a relationship might bring.  We are the perfect gay couple—we just happen to not be gay.  We are so non-gay in fact that our relationship can be made legally binding.  What a world!

This twisted idea that a state sanctioned legitimacy of a relationship has anything to do with sexual orientation is just nutty.  Nutty I say.  My heart sank when California voted yes on Prop 8 and I will continue to push for equality when it comes to a person’s right to make their own decisions.  If a couple wants to marry they should be able to do so no matter how they are born or how they identify.

This is just some food for thought.

So we have decided that we will make this a part of our ceremony.  We will pour out a few drops of wine to symbolize the loss that we feel for those who cannot be married.  We all need to speak up and eventually,  hopefully sooner, rather than later, but eventually–we will be heard.

-Alx

The Meet and Greet

As you’ve learned from Alx’s last post, we have been on a difficult journey in our quest to find our perfect rabbi. Therefore, even though I try to always keep an open mind, I went into our meeting with Rabbi Yitzhak Nates with a small level of skepticism.

Rabbi Nates greeted us kindly and warmly at his front stoop with his lovely dog, Buster. One point for Rabbi Nates, I love dogs. The first thing he said when he saw Alx, me, and our son Raiden was “how wonderful! The whole family is here! This is great!”. Two points for Rabbi Nates, I loved that he loved that my son was in attendance. Okay I know what your thinking, I hadn’t planned on having any sort of point system but when your sole purpose to meeting someone is to essentially judge them it’s kind of inevitable.

We were welcomed into Rabbi Nates home with open arms. We met his lovely wife and absolutely adorable daughter. Rabbi Nates was very laid-back and matter-of-fact which made me feel completely at ease. He started out the conversation by asking us to talk a little bit about ourselves and then reciprocated with his own background. Topics broached were wedding plans, my cultural background, Alx’s ties to Judaism, raising our son, diversifying the ceremony, and so on.

The meeting lasted about two and a half hours but it felt like fifteen minutes. Alx and I both felt that we could of just sat and chatted with Rabbi Nates all day. On our trek home, I realized that this is what I loved about him most. The fact that I didn’t feel as if it were any sort of interview or interrogation. It just felt like a nice, calm, Saturday afternoon visit with a friend. The experience just felt right.

Rabbi Nates gave me hope again. After months of no matches, I was starting to feel like an eHarmony reject. January is booked full of meeting after meeting with rabbis amongst several other wedding appointments (I’m totally looking forward to the tasting!). My outlook is much more positive towards this aspect of our wedding now. We don’t know if Rabbi Nates is The One yet, but he is the one that restored our confidence in finding The One.