Israeli Artists Heighten Simcha’s Meaning

More affordable options now available for bar/bat mitzvah gifts with religious significance.

Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — As bar- and bat-mitzvah celebrations have become more sophisticated and often more costly over the years, so too have many of the gifts. While many 12- and 13-year-olds continue to welcome pocketknives or a piece of jewelry, it’s not unusual for the celebrant to request an iPod or contributions toward a tablet or new computer. 

Dvora Black creates bar- and bat-mitzvah portraits with photograph and a dedication in Hebrew.

Flowing Cups Freshly Remember’d

Reflections on the wine at a wine writer’s wedding.

Special To The Jewish Week

In the eight years that I’ve written The Jewish Week’s Fruit of the Vine column, I have, as a rule, not brought my personal life into the column; not because I am against that style of writing, but because I don’t think that my rather dull, mid-management life would be of much interest to Jewish Week readers. However, for this column I have decided to make an exception.

Three of the wines suitable for a wine writer’s wedding ceremony/reception.

If You’re Thinking Of Tying The Knot Abroad

Special To The Jewish Week

♦ Plan to marry in a civil ceremony in the U.S., preferably before departing for the religious ceremony. After a destination wedding, you may be married in the eyes of God, but not according to city hall. Most foreign countries have red tape that makes legal marriage for foreigners difficult or outright impossible. This ranges from lengthy waiting periods — for witnesses as well as bride and groom — to blood tests and  citizenship requirements. In many countries, the legal officiate must be a representative of the local government — or even of the state church!

Destination Weddings, With A Jewish Twist

Picturesque outdoor chupahs, from Cyrus to Spain to the Yucatan.

Travel Writer

Jews have a certain advantage when it comes to wedding geography: all you need is a chupah and a rabbi.

“In ancient times, the wedding was outdoors,” notes Rabbi Barbara Aiello, an Italian-American rabbi who leads a congregation in Calabria, Italy and officiates at weddings throughout Southern Europe.

A wedding on the beach at the supposed birthplace of Aphrodite, in Cyprus. Photo courtesy of Alexandra Zimakova

Covering All The Bases

Drawn to its symbolism, non-Jews are increasingly getting married under the chupah.

Special To The Jewish Week

When Lorelei Gilmore, the unwed Connecticut mother on the award-winning sitcom, “Gilmore Girls,” was about to tie the knot in a 2001 episode, she was astonished to see her friend, Luke, drag an elaborate wooden chupah onto her lawn. She reminded him that neither she nor the groom, Max, was Jewish. “Don’t you have to be Jewish to get married under one of these?” she asked, gesturing to the structure, with its hand-carved images of birds, flowers and a sacrificial goat. “Won’t God smite us?”

A non-Jewish couple under the chupah in Austin, Texas. Sarah Q. Photography

Latter-Day Fashion

A Modern Orthodox bride searches long and hard for appropriate bridesmaids’ dresses.

Special To The Jewish Week

We’ve all seen the movies.

In “27 Dresses,” Katherine Heigl parades around in a series of truly hideous bridesmaid dresses, each one puffier, shinier and more ungaptchka than the last. In “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the well-intentioned cousin reveals a sky-blue taffeta monstrosity with a mermaid frill and a plunging neckline.

The author’s sisters, and bridesmaids, Hannah Zuber, Aviva Gomberg and Zoe Gomberg.

It Still Takes A Village

In crowdsourcing for weddings, new methods for an old idea.


When Amanda Melpolder began planning her wedding to Jeff Greenberg, she hoped the ceremony would be unlike others.

Melpolder had become involved in an independent minyan in Brooklyn after converting to Judaism several years ago, and she and Greenberg wanted their wedding this June to reflect the prayer group’s community spirit and sense of do-it-yourself camaraderie.

Ned and Nahanni Lazarus standing under the chupah. Photo courtesy Nahanni Rous

Two Glasses Underfoot

For American-Israeli couple, married life is a delight — except for DOMA.

Staff Writer

In certain circles, the idea of an Israeli-American romance is extremely alluring. The American cherishes the stereotype of Israelis as sexier, more dashing versions of the Jews they grew up with: bronzed, muscled and comfortable with a gun. For the Israelis, an American represents access to the big world outside Israel, where life promises at once more opportunity and less stress.

Uri and Matt Tratner-Katz fell in love in Israel, married in Central Park and live in Queens. Photo courtesy Matt Tratner-Katz

Liberals Taking Historic Change In Stride

While fight for benefits continues, sense of normalcy about gay nuptials.

Associate Editor
Two minutes after the clock struck midnight on May 1, Fran and Anna Simon became the first LGBT couple in Colorado to legally unite, under the state’s new civil union law.
Jewish couple Fran and Anna Simon celebrated their civil union. Photo courtesy Fran and Anna Simon

The Art Of The Vow

Ketubah designer says it’s too early to tell if flurry of same-sex marriage legislation will affect business.

Associate Editor

When Aliza Boyer started making ketubahs, or Jewish wedding contracts, in 2008, the irony was that she and her girlfriend, who was helping with the business at the time, could not legally marry.

While many same sex couples have immediately had civil marriage ceremonies, fewer have opted for Jewish weddings with a ketubah,
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