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eBook Ketubah Kit for Rabbis: A Reconstructionist Approach

Ketubah Kit for Rabbis: A Reconstructionist Approach

Author:  
Publisher:  eBookShuk.com
Published:  2003
Language:  English
Pages:   60


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ISBN: 1-59045-240-2




About the Book -- Ketubah Kit for Rabbis: A Reconstructionist Approach

The author developed this book`s innovative thesis and approach together with five Reconstructionist colleagues from across the USA. During three years of occasional meetings for study and discussion, they concluded that the contemporary equivalent of the traditional Ketubah includes not only the usual "suitable for framing" text that conveys good intentions, but also all legally binding documents that would cover today what a traditional Ketubah used to address.

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 couples

This 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.

About the Book

Contents

PREFACE: Definition of Terms
INTRODUCTION: What is a Reconstructionist Ketubah?
CONTEXT: The Evolution of the Traditional Ketubah
    The Ancient Era
    The Gaonic Era
    The Medieval Era
    The Modern Era
    The Contemporary Era
RECONSTRUCTING THE TRADITIONAL KETUBAH
    The Rabbi`s Role: Premarital Counseling as the Key to the Ketubah`s Integrity
    A Process Model for Reconstructing a Ketubah
    Spectrum of Outcomes from a Reconstructionist Process
    Tikkun Olam and a Reconstructed Ketubah
APPENDIXES: TOOLS FOR RAISING LEGAL ISSUES
   
Appendix A. What Is Marriage? Exploring the Jewish Heritage
        Study Texts
        Study Questions
        Teacher`s Guide
    Appendix B. Create Your Own Ketubah: A Guide for Couples
    Appendix C. Basing Premarital Discussions on the Traditional Ketubah
        Raising the Questions Addressed by Traditional Ketubot
        Rabbi Speaks with Couple: Handling Responses
        Illustration: Speaking with an Engaged Couple about Preparing for the Worst
        Introducing the "Ketubah by Default"
        The "Ketubah by Default" for Four Sample States (CA, CT, NY, PA)
        Waiver Form
    Appendix D. The Opportunity: On the Exploration of Judaism in Premarital Counseling


An Excerpt from the Book -- Ketubah Kit for Rabbis: A Reconstructionist Approach

The Rabbi`s Role: Premarital Counseling as the Key to Restoring the Ketubah`s Integrity

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 honored activity.

An Excerpt from the Book

Reviews

". . . 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
Director, Department of Practical Rabbinics
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

".
. . A valuable tool for premarital counseling and a must for rabbis of all streams.
. . . Marvelous, a chiddush -- a fresh, creative, and practical resource. . . Includes a rich collection of classic texts, felicitiously translated. The history of the Ketubah is presented concisely and with rare clarity. . . . Displays a tremendous sensitivity to both Jewish and American legal issues. Its material on `preparing for the worst` is gentle, informative, and vital."

-- Rabbi Barton G. Lee
Director, Hillel at Arizona State University
(Tempe, Arizona)
CCAR Board Member

"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,
editor of The World of the High Holy Days, volumes l, 2, and 3;

and co-editor of So That Your Values Live On.

". . . 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
Germantown Jewish Centre
(USCJ; Philadelphia, PA)

 

". . . 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
Congregation Mishkon Tephilo
 (USCJ; Venice, CA)


 


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