Identity, Politics, Religion, Sex & Gender

The Kiddushin Variations

As we move from Tisha B’Av to Tu B’Av….
This fall, I decided to write a paper for a rabbinical school class on kiddushin (betrothal, now usually the first half of the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony). Halakha pretty much defines kosher kiddushin as the groom’s acquisition of the bride; was there a way to structure a ceremony that was both embedded in/committed to halakha and had a more egalitarian sensibility, didn’t buy anybody, or at least gave the woman some agency other than silent consent in the process?
I wrote my little paper, came to Jerusalem in January, and discovered that I couldn’t escape the question–a class I was taking was all over it, a study group I joined had already been focusing on it, newly engaged friends were asking me for advice….
I heard a lot of shitot (um, models) for how one might approach the kiddushin issue, a lot of things a person might do under the chuppah with various halakhic rationales. So I’ve decided to collect them. I don’t love them all equally, but I see my job as sharing some of the ideas that are floating around, more than anything.
As such, please check out my new website, The Kiddushin Variations. It’s a collection of a lot of the shitot that I’ve been hearing, indended primarily as a resource for rabbis and people getting married, but also a site for discussion and debate about these issues (though I screen comments, so no flames please!)
Since it’s meant to be a resource, please blog and link about it, so the folks who seek something like this can start to find it.
And if you have a great idea that’s not yet on the site, please drop me a line.
(X-posted to Jerusalem Syndrome)

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