Bringing the Orange under the Huppah: Progressive Jewish Alliance Resources for Marriage Equality

Reference: Jewish Mosaic

PROGRESSIVE JEWISH ALLIANCE MARRIAGE EQUALITY CAMPAIGN

Bringing the Orange under the Huppah* is a grassroots campaign to bring spirited discussion of Marriage Equality to a central place in the Jewish community. To that end, PJA invites heterosexual couples who marry in Jewish weddings (as well, of course, as same-gender couples) to find a way to integrate into their wedding solidarity with same-gender couples who are still barred from marriage in so many ways.

As an organization committed to social justice**, PJA believes Marriage Equality is a vital area for our work. We hope that you share our concern and commitment to working to bring support for marriage equality into the joyous marriage celebrations in the Jewish community. You will find an array of suggestions below for readings and rituals. Please treat them as starting points as you make your plans for your wedding.

If you decided to join us in this campaign we really want to hear from you! Please send us an email at bayarea@pjalliance.org describing what you end up doing as well as your thoughts in preparation for this step. We will post comments from everyone on our website, creating a virtual “Reading Room” for reflection and ideas. If that’s asking too much, and you just want to let us know that “you did it,” that’s fine. Just let us know your names and place and date of your wedding.

*The original meaning of the symbolic “Orange on the Seder Plate” was focused on the marginalization of LGBT people in the Jewish community (see Addendum below).

** To learn more about PJA, please look at our website: www.pjalliance.org.

Suggestions (Feel free to copy and disseminate. Please credit PJA as appropriate)

  1. If you plan to have a printed program for the wedding, you can write a very brief statement indicating recognition of the privilege and joy of celebrating your marriage and noting the exclusion of same-gender couples.
  2. Write and print a statement as described above and place it on the table or within the centerpieces for the dinner or party following the ceremony.
  3. Undertake some form of tzedakah related to your marriage. Some options of organizations promoting marriage equality are: Jews for Marriage Equality at www.jewsformarriageequality.org; the national organization, Freedom to Marry, at www.freedomtomarry.org; Equality California: www.eqca.org; Marriage Equality USA at www.marriageequality.org; PJA’s Marriage Equality Initiative at www.pjalliance.org.
  4. Adding an 8th brakhah (blessing) to the traditional “sheva berakhot” (seven blessings) in which you express your commitment to inclusion in your own words. A suggested text follows — it can be amended as needed.
  5. Adding a simple ritual accompanied by a brief explanation, such as:
    A. Filling a second glass of wine that is not drunk from
    B. Bringing an orange under the huppah (or on a table where the wine and rings are
                    placed). See suggested reading below.
    C. Stepping on/breaking the glass a second time (see suggested reading from the
                    Central Conference of American Rabbis of Reform Judaism (CCAR) below).

Suggested Readings and Rituals

1. The following is a suggested text for reading or to accompany this or any other ritual, and can also be added as an 8th brakhah (blessing). The text was written by Rachel Biale and may be amended or expanded as you wish.

“We fill a second glass of wine and refrain from drinking from it/place an orange under the huppah/break the glass a second time in solidarity with same-gender Jewish couples who still cannot marry in most of our synagogues and nearly all States.”

Grant great joy to beloved companions
A man with his mate, a woman her lover;
With all of Israel they shall share a portion.

Blessed be those beloved ones
Who “the one my soul desires” found,
In the path of the love of David and Jonathan.

May they be blessed with Huppah and Kiddushin
according to the customs of Jewish men and women,
and with equal rights in the communities of Israel;
May it come speedily, in our day,
and let us say “Amen.”

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