Ketubah, etc
Married Life

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Aleck and Stacey Johnson
May 8, 2004

For those of you unable to join us for the wedding, here are some of the other things you missed and may be interested in viewing.

The Wedding Program



The Wedding of

Stacey Lyn Wions


 Aleck Shelton Johnson

 Saturday, May 8, 2004

Binghamton, New York

7:00 pm

©      Rabbi Michele Medwin
©      Menko and Camille Johnson, Aleck’s brother and sister-in-law
Pieter Johnson and Adeena Colbert, Aleck’s brother and Stacey & Aleck’s friend
Steven and Michelle Wions, Stacey’s brother and sister-in-law
Christopher Collins, Aleck’s friend and Best Man
Aleck, escorted by his parents, Richard and Joke Johnson
Allison Gingo, Stacey’s friend and Matron of Honor
David and Lois Wions, Stacey’s father and his wife
Samantha and Emma Wions, Stacey’s nieces
Stacey, escorted by her parents, Karyn and Ron Smith
In a Jewish ceremony, both parents accompany both the groom and bride down the aisle, and all parents remain with the bride and groom for the duration of the ceremony.

Welcome and Prayer for marriage
The rabbi will offer a welcome to those who’ve come to witness the ceremony and also a prayer asking for God’s presence at and blessing of the marriage.

Blessing of the Chuppah
The chuppah symbolizes the couple’s new home they are making together. It is open on all sides to signify hospitality; welcoming visitors at any time.
The quilt that Stacey and Aleck are being married under was hand made for the wedding by Aleck’s mother Joke, Aunt Alette and sister-in-law Cami and, through photographs, represents Aleck and Stacey growing up and joining together as one.

The Kiddush is a blessing over the wine and takes place in almost all Jewish observances.
The word Kiddush means holiness. Wine is used to sanctify a special moment and is associated with celebrations, festivals and simchas (joyous occasions).

Betrothal blessings
The modern Jewish wedding ceremony consists of two ceremonies that were once done at separate times— the engagement ceremony and the wedding ceremony. Blessings of betrothal were recited at the engagement ceremony. One blessing is recited after the prayer over wine. The final one, from the book of Hosea, is recited by the couple after the exchange of rings.

Vows are not required in the Jewish ceremony; however, they are so prevalent in American culture, Stacey and Aleck have decided to exchange vows they wrote together.

Ring Ceremony
Aleck and Stacey will exchange rings by first putting the ring on the other’s right index finger. This has several explanations, one of which stems from an ancient belief that the index finger was directly connected by a special artery to the heart. During this exchange, they will say to each other “Ani L’Dodi v’ Dodi Li” which translates to “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” They will then move the rings from their index fingers to their ring fingers.

Ketubah reading
The Ketubah is the Jewish marriage contract. Immediately prior to the ceremony, Stacey, Aleck, and two witnesses signed the Ketubah. The rabbi will read aloud the English portion.

Seven blessings
The seven blessings serve to acknowledge God’s creation of life and all the beauty and joy in it. They mention miracles He has performed and pray that they may reoccur. Finally, they call for love between the bride and groom as was experienced by Adam and Eve and happiness for the couple to be witnessed and shared by all.
The rabbi will chant the blessings in Hebrew and then recite the English translations.

By the power vested in her, the rabbi will pronounce Aleck and Stacey husband and wife!

Final Blessing

The final blessing for the couple is called the Priestly Benediction and has been recited for over two thousand years, dating back to the days when the Temple stood in Jerusalem.

Breaking of the glass
Perhaps the best known element of the ceremony, the breaking of the glass holds no religious significance. There are several interpretations of this, a common one being that the fragility of the glass underscores the fragility of human relationships.
Another is that the bride and groom - and everyone - should consider these marriage vows as an irrevocable act – just as permanent and final as the breaking of this glass is unchangeable. If you ask Ron, however, he’ll tell you that it is the last time the man gets to put his foot down. The breaking of the glass is followed by guests shouting “Mazel Tov!” At this time,  Aleck and Stacey may finally share a kiss.


Aleck and Stacey will take their first steps together as a married couple and will lead the way back down the aisle. The rest of the wedding party will follow.

After the ceremony, Stacey and Aleck will retreat to a private room for a few minutes of seclusion to reflect on what has just happened and to resume normal breathing. Because of this, there will be no receiving line. 

Descriptions of the ceremony elements were adapted from The New Jewish Wedding by Anita Diamant and from

 Immediately following the ceremony, please make your way downstairs for the cocktail hour while the room is reset for the reception.

We’re not expecting any phone calls during the ceremony – are you? Please mute all cell phones, pagers, beepers, palm pilots, game boys or anything else that might disrupt the ceremony. And please, no photography.
Thank you.


These are the vows that we wrote. The rabbi approved them and added another line about fidelity.

Aleck to Stacey:
Do you Aleck take Stacey as your wife and equal partner in marriage; to love, respect and cherish, and together with her create a loving home filled with tolerance, compassion, learning, laughter, and respect for all people?

Stacey to Aleck:
Do you Stacey take Aleck as your husband and equal partner in marriage; to love, respect and cherish, and together with him create a loving home filled with tolerance, compassion, learning, laughter, and respect for all people?


The Ketubah

The English part reads:

"On the first day of the week, the 18th day of the month of Iyar in the year 5764, which corresponds to the 8th day of the month of May in the year 2004, the groom Aleck Shelton Johnson and the bride Stacey Lyn Wions consecrate themselves to each other in this covenant of marriage. As we join our lives together in a bond of eternal love, we promise to be as sensitive and understanding towards one another in our hours of happiness, as we are in our moments of sadness. We promise to respect and honor each other and to delight in each other’s uniqueness. To fulfill our spiritual and emotional needs as one. We promise to be honest and open with one another and to share all of our dreams, thoughts and feelings. We will strive to build a home committed to our shared heritages. A home filled with love, empathy, laughter and acts of kindness. As our love grows deeper and stronger, may our souls intertwine in heart’s deepest intimacy. All of this is valid and binding."

The Centerpieces

We tried to do something a little different and a little more meaningful with our centerpieces than having just flowers on the tables. This was done for a few reasons. One, there were several people who were very close to us in life who passed away before being able to witness us get married. We wanted to somehow share this day with them and bring their memory into the room with us. Second, it didn't seem to make much sense to us to spend money on flowers that would be dead in a day. We decided that if we were going to spend that much money on centerpieces, we'd much rather spend it on something that had more meaning. And third, as a short person, Stacey doesn't like to see flowers instead of the other people at the table. It was decided that when we walked into the room, we wanted to be able to look around and see people, not flowers.

In lieu of floral centerpieces, donations have been made in memory of those we wish could have been here to celebrate with us tonight.

 Shelton and Carolyn Beatty,
to Pomona College

Ben Bertsch and Aubrey McCarter,
to the San Diego Police Officers Association

 Norman Engel,
to the Children’s Wish Foundation

Rebecca Hershenhorn (Rivel),
to the Jewish Community Center of Rochester, New York

 Kenneth and Billie Johnson (Papa and Nana),
to the American Lung Association

 Arthur Madorsky,
to Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation Foundation

 Maurice and Ethel Orgel (Poppa and Mimi),
to the Jewish Federation of Washington and
to the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington

 Anita and Louis Smith,
to the Prevention of Blindness Society

Menko Wiersema (Opa),
to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

 William and Ann Wions (Grandma and Grandpa),
to the Lions Club

This was printed on white card stock paper with a raised white border. There were four cards connected together to create a box, and each box was positioned around a single votive candle, creating the effect of a luminary. The tables were also sprinkled with rose petals and were set with Hershey Kisses wrapped in silver and purple foil and placed in a pair of champagne glasses.

The Scavenger Hunt

In an effort to hold the attention of the children in attendance, we created a Scavenger Hunt for the ceremony. It was made clear that this was not Bingo, lest we have them screaming out triumphantly as they spot the photographer, but rather a hunt to see how many items they could find. They were tempted with a prize in the form of a goody bag filled with treats. You can see Madison and Katie gleefully exploring their loot below.

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