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They explored how best to revive the Ketubah`s historic function of
specifying what happens in case of divorce or a spouse`s death. They asked,
"How can rabbis today assist couples in considering these challenging
issues -- and relevant laws -- in a personally and Jewishly resonant way?"
The result is a book that restores the consideration of meaningful, vital
"legal" issues as Jewishly honored activity.
Rabbi Stein`s book spotlights how rabbis can incorporate the
"full" Ketubah into the premarital counseling process and into the
wedding ceremony. It shows how they can productively raise legal questions
without themselves being legal experts. And it provides them with numerous tools
and guides -- based on the traditional Ketubah -- that are specially designed to
suit a wide range of contemporary couplesThis handsome little book is searchable, printable, and easily navigable
via dozens of hyperlinks. The author grants copyright permission for limited
distribution by rabbis in the course of counseling or teaching. Beginning in Spring 2003, look for the companion e-book, Ketubah
Kit for Couples -- which, like the present volume, will be available
exclusively from eBookShuk.com.
the Author -- Ketubah Kit for Rabbis: A Reconstructionist Approach
Definition of Terms
Excerpt from the Book -- Ketubah Kit for Rabbis: A Reconstructionist Approach
When Jews were governed under Jewish law, it completely defined the legal benefits and duties of marriage. And premarital Ketubah negotiations always openly addressed concerns regarding property, divorce, and death.
Jewish law no longer governs our lives; rather, state or provincial laws are what regulate marriage. They govern what happens to property in case of divorce or one`s death, or what happens if a spouse becomes incapacitated. Those laws offer control over the outcome if the parties take certain legal steps, some of which are quite simple. Yet most wedding couples marry without being challenged to consider such issues in advance. Often, in fact, they don`t even have a clue as to what the laws prescribe.
My thesis is simple: a fully reconstructed Ketubah includes not only the usual ritual text that conveys good intentions, but also all legal documents that cover what a Ketubah used to address: wills, trusts, powers of attorney, prenuptial agreements, etc. If so, a Ketubah is more than a pretty piece of paper that is ceremonially signed. It is a vehicle for couples to define -- in ways that truly matter -- who they are and what they want in their relationship.
Consequently, this kit discusses ways that you as a rabbi can revive the historic functions of a Ketubah that are presently conveyed only in a secular trope -- if at all. Few of the couples who seek you out for wedding officiation may be willing to commit to writing their desired disposition of property in the event of divorce or death. But at the very least, you can assist couples in considering the issues and relevant laws in a personally meaningful and Jewishly resonant way.
How? The rest of this kit will show you. It
addresses both the premarital counseling process and the spectrum of outcomes
from that process. Furthermore, it provides you with tools specially designed
for this purpose. In this way, to whatever extent couples are prepared to put
their wishes on paper, you can frame "dry" legal steps as Jewishly
". . . An important addition to the rabbi`s Jewish wedding library. I highly recommend it.. . . Gives new meaning to the task of writing a ketubah. . . . enables rabbis to think through the possible uses of a ketubah and to open up many possibilities to couples who are making a life commitment. . . . Responds to the needs of various couples: heterosexual or gay/lesbian. In its appendixes, the many texts presented for study and the teachers` guide add to its depth. Furthermore, the guide for rabbis in handling possible responses to questions, the sample `ketubot by default,` and the list of questions addressed by traditional ketubot are all most helpful and thought-provoking."
Rabbi Linda Holtzman
Rabbi Barton G. Lee
"Many people seem to spend more time worrying about the color of the tablecloths or which band to choose than they do preparing themselves for the challenges of marriage. Therefore Rabbi Stein`s kit is a valuable and much needed resource. His knowledge of the classic Jewish sources is impressive, and his willingness to apply them to the world in which we live today is commendable."
Rabbi Jack Riemer,
". . . An important supplement to the rabbi`s manual -- appropriate to rabbis from any of the liberal denominations. I recommend it highly to my colleagues. . . Working with a couple on their ketubah has increasingly become an important educational and pastoral opportunity. Faced with a wide array of choices, couples who may never have taken an active role in creating a ritual item now need to choose, and often help create, a ketubah. The Ketubah Kit for Rabbis is an invaluable tool when facing these decisions. It moves the choice of ketubah to the very center of thinking about the ground rules and abiding values of the marriage relationship. . . Its charts offer guidance on how to structure the discussion process, and a useful collection of texts provides material for study. The electronic form is easy to navigate."
Rabbi Leonard Gordon
". . . An invaluable resource for those working with couples to explore the plethora of options in ketubah texts, traditions, and resources. Rabbi Stein`s thoroughness in his research is matched by his creative use of hypertext -- which make this book a model for future publications. He has brought Jewish publishing and editing into the 21st century."
Rabbi Dan Shevitz
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