Tree of Life Chuppah

>> Thursday, October 30, 2008

As I promised a couple days ago, I'm going to share a little more about last weekend's wedding in Boston. In the interest of keeping the posts to a somewhat reasonable length, I'm going to break them into two. For the crafty, craft-inspired, and craft-interested among you, I want to highlight Claire and Michael's beautiful chuppah (you may sometimes here "huppah" as the "ch" is a gutteral sound, not the hard "ch" of chomp) as well as their ketubah (wedding contract).

Claire's mom made the chuppah over the summer (I know there was a little anxiety last June about when it would be finished, but it was complete and gorgeous by the wedding). The chuppah, or wedding canopy under which the ceremony takes place, symbolizes the Jewish home the couple will build together. Many people use a tallit, or prayer shawl, as the chuppah but it can be made of anything and therefore represents a fantastic opportunity to customize, personalize, and aestheticize the wedding.

The chuppah in action, resting on 4 poles carved by Claire's dad. The carving was impressive as each pole is actually 3 parts and yet that was invisible. The pictures do not do the poles justice.

The chuppah up-close and personal:

The blue and green borders -- the flower embroidery on the green area matches the flower embroidery on Claire's dress!

The central image, a tree of life surrounded by 4 pairs of birds.

The ketubah presents another opportunity for customizing the wedding ceremony, both artistically and philosophically. To say that traditional ketubbot are not the most egalitarian documents out there is an understatement, though some will acknowledge this point while emphasizing its language was designed to protect women in ancient times. But I digress. Today, many couples choose to alter the traditional language (this is, after all, the contract that defines the terms of the marriage), either through somewhat standard forms or individually.

In this case, Claire wrote their ketubah to reflect the mutual commitments she and Michael were making to one another. Designed by friend and Cambridge artist, Josh Meyer, their ketubah is beautifully written, designed, and calligraphed:

Printed on what I think is handmade leaf paper, the contract (literally) flanks the central text, Song of Songs 2:10-12:

"My beloved spoke thus to me
'Arise, my darling;
My fair one, come away!
For now the winter is past,
The rains are over and gone.
The blossoms have appeared in the land.'" (JPS translation)


Holly October 30, 2008 at 3:28 PM  

I love the tree and birds! I knew about the ketubah but not the chuppah. Very beautiful.

two hippos October 30, 2008 at 9:31 PM  

Thanks, and I'm sure Claire will pass on the compliments to her mom.

Micki April 20, 2009 at 3:11 AM  

I Love this post of yours and all the wonderful posts. I will follow your blog, as I find it very interesting. The recipes also are so good. My parents were holocaust survivors, and although they are not alive anymore, I will always love the traditions.
Thanks for a lovely post!
In Ireland

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