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on May 18, 2004
My fiance and I were looking for a book to explain Jewish wedding laws and customs. We bought a few different books, and I think this was by far the best.
I particularly liked its clarity and organization. While other books bombard you with random Hebrew and Yiddish terms (sometimes translating them into English and leaving out the original language), this book takes time to explain them. It distinguishes which Jewish wedding practices are law and which are custom. It talks about both Ashkenazi and Sephardi traditions and makes it fairly clear which traditions are specific to one ethnicity and which are more universal. It addresses a number of mainstream American wedding practices (such as rehearsal dinners) that are NOT typically a part of Jewish weddings. And it educates in a way that makes me feel like I have a grip on the information, rather than throwing out pieces of information that make me go "Huh? What's up with that?"
There is a reason rabbis recommend this book. If you have any interest in learning about Jewish weddings, especially if you want to incorporate Yiddishkeit into your own wedding, this is the book to get.
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on January 7, 2002
Many of my new invitation or "ketuba" clients walk in my door with Anita Diamant's "The New Jewish Wedding" in hand, with page markers sticking out and underlined text throughout. If they don't, I pull out my copy to show them why they need this book to prepare for their wedding. Just as my clients know they need a "ketuba," yet don't necessarily know anything about the meaning, history and purpose of this marriage contract, they also don't know about many of the other Jewish wedding customs. This is totally understandable, for they have never needed to know until now.
The richness and meaning of Jewish wedding customs and rituals is enhanced immeasurably when couples understand why they are included in their celebration and ceremony -- and not just because "it's tradition!" Once they read "The New Jewish Wedding," couples have a much better understanding of the historical perspective of the rituals, helping in decision making about which rituals to include and what form they should take. They also have nuts and bolts information about everything from how to choose a rabbi, caterer, musicians, and location to seeking a personalized and artistic Jewish invitation and "ketuba." The dilemmas of mixed marriages and gay/lesbian ceremonies are handled with sensitivity, designed to help couples and their families approach complex issues.
Poignant stories share how previously married couples enhanced various rituals to personalize them. The detailed descriptions of the parts of the ceremony help couples know what to expect and to be more comfortable with the Jewish wedding tradition. Suggested readings and blessings provide those who want to give their ceremony their own personal twist with ideas for adding to the core elements. Anita clearly did her homework and interviewed many couples in order to provide a wide variety of possibilities to consider when planning a wedding.
My "ketuba" clients have all found "The New Jewish Wedding" to be extremely helpful in planning their special day and beyond, ever since the first edition came out in 1985. It is nice to know that times have changed sufficiently so the second edition could include some of the important information about sensitive issues that could not be addressed in the first edition.
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on March 13, 2003
I originally bought this book from amazon when I first got engaged. My fiance and I are both jewish and have been to many many jewish weddings, but I wanted to learn more. So, I found this book because of all the glowing reviews! And I would like to add another one!
As I said in the title, I read it once and since I kept telling my fiance little tidbits that I didn't know or things that were interesting, he asked to borrow the book. After his first reading he said that he wanted to review certain sections, highlight them and then pass this book onto his mother!
I really found Diamant's book to be greatly inspiring and full of explainations on what parts are necessary in a jewish ceremony and what parts are customs and why. She really appeals to a large audience because she does not assume you have to be orthodox to understand or take part in anything she discusses. This book has also inspired me to have a Friday night "Sabbath" dinner with close family before our wedding and integrate some rituals I didn't know about previously, like both mothers breaking a plate. (Read the book to find out what it means!)
And since I am having a long engagement, I am going to have to refresh my memory soon because when I read it I just remember saying out loud "Oh, that is so cool! I want that to happen during my ceremony too!"
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on September 12, 2002
Good overall, but I don't think it deserves the reputation it seems to have as "the only Jewish Wedding book you'll ever need." For that it would need to be much better organized.
For example, the author could have included an actual outline of the Jewish ceremony from Kabbalat Panim through Yichud. Instead, she peppers the book with references to all these things, leaving the reader to wonder how it all falls into place. The Jewish wedding ritual has an order and a rhythm to it, so there's no reason for her NOT to have described it all in order - except, perhaps, that she wanted to fill out the book!
To get the most out of A New Jewish Wedding, you should have some prior knowledge. So order the book, and while you're waiting for it to arrive, do some of your own research on the 'net. ('s "Guide to the Jewish Wedding" is a pretty good place to start...
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on December 19, 2002
I married a Jewish man this August and this book was a lifesaver! My dear mother-in-law got me a copy and it proved invaluable. Anita Daimant is great at explaining things clearly and simply without condecension. Additionally, she understands that each person's experience within Judaism is different. She provides various translations for wedding blessings and poems which will fit almost everyone's experience. I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially the non-Jew or newly converted, who are having a Jewish wedding.
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on September 23, 2002
This book is an excellent guide for planning a Jewish ceremony. While most wedding books spend more time on the reception, this book emphasizes the ceremony. Diamond explains many wedding traditions that allow you to plan your own ceremony. For example, she offers different translations of the 7 blessings, so you can choose your own. Her book will help my fiance and I to plan a personalized ceremony.
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