Are Egalitarian Jewish Weddings Possible?

A marriage tradition steeped in property law really has to stretch to be legally egalitarian.

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Still, for those who are not tripped up by historical echoes, new interpretations may signal a new ethic. Dobb uses the adaptation of the bedeken to reinterpret the meaning of the custom. "It's about deeply knowing the other and about seeing through whatever veils circumstances put upon on the other," he said. He takes the same approach to other aspects of the wedding: "We need to emphasize the spiritual and emotional side of the symbol rather than its historical side."

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Heidi Gralla is a freelance writer living in New York.