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Kabbalat Panim (Welcoming the Guests)
We begin the day by greeting our guests and joining with you in song and meaningful sharing as we emotionally and spiritually prepare for marriage. We begin celebrating in separate rooms. Afterwards, we invite you to join in the merriment as we are escorted towards each other to join together for the signing of the kebutah.
Note: childcare will be available after this point in the Madison Room for any family that wishes to use it.
The bedecken stems from the biblical story of Jacob, who married Leah instead of Rachel, the woman he loved, because he didnít see the face of his veiled bride. We honor this custom by taking a moment to look into each otherís eyes and to really see one another.
Ketubah (Marriage Contract)
The ketubah is the ancient Jewish marriage contract. We have created a modern ketubah that best speaks to our personal commitments to one another, our communities, and the world. We spent many hours designing the artwork and creating the text for this document, which will be read during the wedding ceremony, and we look forward to displaying it in our home as a constant reminder of our vows to one another.
Our friends Lisa Morenoff, Michael Posner, Jay Schrauner, and Jim Speer and will sign as witnesses to our modern ketubah. Jonathan Slutzman and Jonathan Segal will sign as witnesses to a traditional ketubah. Our marriage license for the state of Pennsylvania will be signed privately.
Chuppah (Bridal Canopy)
The chuppah is the canopy beneath which the wedding ceremony takes place. All sides are open to symbolize that guests coming from any direction will always be welcome in the home we build together. For our chuppah we decided to commission a memory quilt that honors Reenaís mother, Barbara Freedman, who passed away unexpectedly last year. You are welcome to view it more closely after the ceremony. The four corners of the chuppah will be supported by our siblings: Gwen Riles, Mary Riles, Avi Freedman, and Noam Freedman.
After being escorted to the chuppah by our parents, we circle one another a total of seven times. Circling has been used by many cultures to set aside a sacred space; we do so today to represent our commitment to care for and protect each other.
Betrothal: The Ring Ceremony
During the ring ceremony, we will exchange rings and recite the traditional words: (in Hebrew)
By this ring you are consecrated to me in accordance with the traditions of Moses and Israel.
We will also recite our personal promise, which draws from the text of our ketubah:
I will betroth you to me with love, understanding, forgiveness, and respect, reflecting the wisdom of the people of the world.
Sheva Brachot (The Seven Blessings)
While the first half of the wedding ceremony involves only Dan, Reena, and Daniel Berman, the second half includes our close friends and family. We have selected meaningful readings from other sources of wisdom to complement the traditional Hebrew blessings.
1. Blessed is the creation of the fruit of the vine.
Read by Allan Freedman
You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of the Universe.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of your love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Read by Linda Riles. This selection was read to Linda and Jim, Danís parents, on their wedding day.
2. Blessed is the creation which embodies glory.
Read by Lisa Morenoff
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.
From Letters by Rainer Maria Rilke
Read by Martine Osorio
3. Blessed is the creation of the human being.
Read by Will Best
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be a shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into your days together.
And may your days be good
And long on the earth.
Native American Wedding Prayer
Read by Gwen Riles and Mary Riles
4. Blessed is the design of the human being. Developing our wisdom we may become God-like. We are assembed from the very fabric of the universe and are composed of eternal element. Blessed be and Blessed is our creation.
Read by Avi Freedman
What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?
Read by Sarah Migliazzo
5. Rejoice and be glad you who wandered homeless. In joy have you gathered with your sisters and your brothers. Blessed is the joy of our gathering.
Read by Noam Freedman
You are my friend. And a friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.
Read by Emily Gavin
6. Bestow happiness on these loving mates as would creatures feel in Edenís garden. Blessed be the joy of lovers.
Read by Michael Posner
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Read by Debbie Willis
7. Blessed is the creation of joy and celebration, lover and mate, gladness and jubilation, pleasure and delight, love and solidarity, friendship and peace. Soon may we hear in the streets of the city and the paths of the fields, the voice of joy, the voice of gladness, the voice of lover, the voice of mate, the triumphant voice of lovers from the canopy and the voice of youths from their feasts of song. Blessed is the joy of lovers, one with each other.
Read by Sarah Meyers
I would have each couple turn,
Join and unjoin, be lost
In the greater turning
Of other couples, woven
In the circle of a dance,
The song of long time flowing
Over them, so they may return,
Turn again in to themselves
Out of desire greater than their own,
Belonging to all, to each,
To the dance, and to the song
That moves them through the night.
Excerpt from The Dance by Wendell Berry
Read by David Ernst
Breaking of the Glass
The ceremony ends with the well-known tradition of breaking a glass, reminding us that even in moments of our deepest joy there is still much fragility and brokenness in the world. This ritual reminds us of our responsibility to tikkun olam, repairing the world in which we live. It is also a transition from the ceremony to the celebration.
After the ceremony, we will spend a few quiet moments together amid all the joy and celebration of the day! Our two shomrim (guards), Mike Zarin and Anna Licameli, will ensure our privacy.
After yichud and a few formal pictures, we will be presented to the community for the first time as a married couple. Get ready to dance! It is the obligation of the guests to rejoice with the bride and groom and to entertain them with singing, dancing, skits, juggling, and just about any other form of entertainment you can imagine. Weíve included a few common song lyrics below:
Od yishama, bíarei Yehuda, uívechutzot Yerushalayim, kol sasson víkol simcha, kol chatan víkol kallah!
ďWe will once again hear in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the voice of rejoicing and the voice of happiness, the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride!Ē
Yasis alayich, elohayich, kimsos chatan al kallah!
God will rejoice over you like the groom rejoices over the bride.
Siman tov uímazel tov, mazel tov uísiman tov, yiheh lanu uíkol yisrael.
Congratulations, congratulations, may it be for all of us and for all of Israel.
On this special day for our families, we want to remember and honor their members who could not be with us today:
||Reenaís paternal grandfather|
||Danís paternal grandfather|
||Danís paternal grandmother|
||Danís maternal grandfather|
|Sarah Camers Smith
||Danís maternal grandmother|
We also want to acknowledge the absence of Jim Riles, Danís father, who was unable to join us due to health reasons.