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Negotiating Rites$
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Ute Husken and Frank Neubert

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199812295

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812295.001.0001

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Jewish Same-Sex Weddings in Canada

Jewish Same-Sex Weddings in Canada

Rites of Resistance or Rituals of Conformity?

Chapter:
(p.161) 8 Jewish Same-Sex Weddings in Canada
Source:
Negotiating Rites
Author(s):

Shari Rochelle Lash

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812295.003.0008

Jewish same-sex wedding ceremonies in Canada assert both the legal entitlements that have recently been affirmed as permanent for all Canadians and the long contested for space within liberal Judaism that has made room for homosexual Jews. Drawing from fieldwork with rabbis and Jewish lesbians in the Toronto area and the work of authors in the U.S., the chapter delves into the significance of the wedding as a cultural performance and its transformative potential once the battle for equal marriage rights is won. By examining liturgy, ritual symbols and elements of Jewish marriage, it is discussed how ceremonies for same-sex couples can adhere to, depart from and innovate the traditional ritual formula. Arguing that same-sex weddings are structurally identical to an egalitarian opposite-sex ceremony, and that religious sanctioning is no longer an alternative to civil recognition, it is suggested that the absence of self-conscious ritual elements enables greater social receptivity for extending religious understandings of marriage. The emphasis for Jewish couples is on maintaining religious continuity rather than being revolutionary. Necessarily altered Jewish ceremonies are not understood as performances of resistance but rather gestures of conformity that link couples to their families, communities, and the ongoing story of the Jewish people.

Keywords:   same-sex wedding, liberal Judaism, performances of resistance, conformity

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