Broken Glass

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, 4/14/2004

Dear Chevra,

I've got a "practice report" and then a question.

When Phyllis and/or I act as m'sadrim kiddushin for any couple, hetero or same-sex, we take the opportunity of the traditional breaking-of-the-glass at the end of the wedding ceremony as an opportinity to say this (approximately):

"We are about to break the glass that in Jewish tradition reminds us that even in the moment of our greatest joy, we must not forget that the world is broken, that some people and our planet are suffering. We invite each of us to pause for a moment to focus on one aspect of the broken world, and to bring clearly to our mind's eye some specific action we will take to heal it. [PAUSE]

"As for me/us, at this moment I/we recognize that it is still impossible in many parts of the Jewish world for two men or two women to come under the chuppah together, and we recognize that most jurisdictions in civil society do not make possible the legal protections of marriage to same-sex couples. We pledge ourselves to keep working to heal this broken aspect of our worlds."

Our experience is that after every ceremony, several people come up with tears in their eyes to thank us. We have yet to have anyone come up angry or distressed, though I would not be surprised if some people felt that way.

I've often wondered how Christians, Muslims, and those of other spiritual traditions would feel about introducing the "broken glass" into their wedding ceremonies, with or without this specific focus.

Shalom, Arthur

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