Jewish Marriage & Commitment

Re-Envisioning Jewish Commitment and Marriage for the 21st Century

4-Unit Study Course by Rabbi Dr. Meesh Hammer-Kossoy

“She is your partner and covenanted spouse”
וְהִ֥יא חֲבֶרְתְּךָ֖ וְאֵ֥שֶׁת בְּרִיתֶֽךָ
Malakhi 2:14

If you, your child, grandchild or someone you love is getting married (or would like to anytime soon), there is a lot to think about.  In fact, all of us need to take a close look at the issues associated with marriage, because the way we construct this institution ultimately determines some of the most basic aspects of Jewish communal life. From how we mark the most beautiful and hopeful times, to protecting ourselves from the complexities and challenges of divorce, the laws and traditions of marriage are an essential part of how we live.

This Social Justice study series investigates Jewish marriage from four perspectives: 

Unit 1. The Philosophical Underpinnings of Marriage as reflected in the traditional wedding ceremony texts.

Unit 2. The Jewish Legal Structure of Marriage and how this has evolved over the last two thousand years.

Unit 3. The Inequities in Jewish Divorce Law and the resultant problems.

Unit 4. Towards a Just and Protected Marriage of Partnership – three possible solutions to these problems.

Click on each of the above links to open or download the PDF file for each Unit.

The first unit is relevant to all marriages, while the second, third and most of the fourth unit are intended for heterosexual couples in which both partners are Jewish. For those who want to explore the choice not to marry, not to marry Jewishly, or not to marry a Jew, I recommend this study unit written for ICJW by Adina Ben-Chorin.

Same sex couples will want to explore the traditional liturgy analyzed below, but will confront the traditional legal institutions of marriage through a different lens