(NY Times On Religion) Christians Embrace a Jewish Wedding Tradition

In a San Antonio chapel last August, after reciting their wedding vows and exchanging their rings, Sally and Mark Austin prepared to receive communion for the first time as husband and wife. Just before they did, their minister asked them to sign a document. It was a ketubah, a traditional Jewish marriage contract.

The Austins’ was not an interfaith marriage. Nor was their ceremony some sort of multicultural mashup. Both Sally and Mark are evangelical Christians, members of Oak Hills Church, a nationally known megachurch. They were using the ketubah as a way of affirming the Jewish roots of their faith.

In so doing, the Austins are part of a growing phenomenon of non-Jews incorporating the ketubah, a document with millennia-old origins and a rich artistic history, into their weddings. Mrs. Austin, in fact, first learned about the ketubah from her older sister, also an evangelical Christian, who had been married five years earlier with not only a ketubah but the Judaic wedding canopy, the huppah.

Read it all.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Judaism, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry

4 comments on “(NY Times On Religion) Christians Embrace a Jewish Wedding Tradition

  1. Henry Greville says:

    Since Jesus and his very first followers seem to have had a renewal and reconstruction of Judaism in their mind and hearts, does it not make sense for Christianity today to welcome a rediscovery and incorporation of ancient Jewish culture, as rooted in the Jewish scriptures, so long as such customs are consistent with what Christian scripture says Jesus actually lived and taught?

  2. nwlayman says:

    How sad that Christians have so little understanding of their own background that they need to pretend like this. I know a co-founder of the Jews for Jesus organization, now he’s an Orthodox Christian priest. His term for protestants who adopt little pieces of Judaism is “Messianic gentiles”.

  3. TACit says:

    Well said, #2. After hearing in the sermon this morning a reference to the Apostle Peter seeing a vision of a sheet containing unclean (non-kosher) animals, let down from heaven, then answering a knock at the door from the men sent by the gentile Cornelius asking that (Jewish) Peter come and baptize all his household – I can only wonder how such a misunderstanding as ‘Jesus and his very first followers seem to have had a renewal and reconstruction of Judaism in their mind and hearts’ might arise. Jesus rather had in mind obedience to God the Father in heaven, and was led by the Holy Spirit on his way. Marriage in the Christian understanding is a covenant between husband and wife, and not a contract which is the Jewish understanding and documented in a ketubah. However, in this age of pre-nups I wonder if this may have been seen as a good marketing niche?

  4. TACit says:

    I neglected to mention that 20+ years ago when my husband and I rented an apartment in a college town, on moving in I was surprised to discover the previous renters’ ketubah at the back of a closet shelf. Thinking it had been overlooked I made sure we returned it, and only years later (when I was a little less naively sincere about these things!) did it occur to me that the wife might possibly have wanted to ‘lose’ it in this convenient fashion…….though of course we’ll never know.