My Jewish Wedding Program

                                                                             That’s me and Erica in the middle.

On September 2nd in Portland, Oregon, I finally married that girlfriend and later, fiancee, I keep mentioning.

I will probably do an ancient wisdom post about marriage in not too long, but for now I wanted to share our program with you. We had a heartfelt Jewish wedding and it was important to us that our guests understood the different parts of the ceremony. The descriptions are brief and we borrowed some from another program (as is the tradition for wedding programs), but I think they provided a basic background.

Excuse the formatting. Pasting from Word is tough! However, here is a PDF  you can use that might be easier to read.

Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.

-Ruth 1:16-17                                         


Seating of the Grandparents

Mrs. Irene Schwartz, Erica’s maternal grandmother escorted by Coleman Gordon, Erica’s cousin

Mrs. Linda Davidson, Dale’s paternal grandmother escorted by Adrian Davidson, Dale’s nephew


Chloe Mandell, Maid of Honor, and Peter Lee, Best Man

Groom and his parents

Mr. Craig Davidson and Mrs. Kimie Davidson with

Dale Davidson

Bride and her parents

Mr. Allan Mandell and Ms. Jacqueline Mandell with

Erica Mandell

Jewish Wedding Guide


The wedding canopy, or chuppah, under which we are standing is symbolic of the new home we will build as a married couple. The sides of the canopy are open to ensure we are not separated from our friends and family upon whom we will continue to rely. We feel very comfortable standing under it as it is almost as big as our apartment!


When we first enter the chuppah, Erica will circle Dale seven times. The number seven parallels the seven days of creation, and symbolizes the fact that we are about to create our own “new world” together.

Erusin (Betrothal Blessing)

The wedding ceremony begins with the blessing over the wine. This blessing occurs twice in the ceremony. The two cups are thought to symbolize the joy and sorrow the couple may encounter in life. Though we hope to drink more of the “joy” wine, this ritual acknowledges that a partnership also requires shared hardship to grow stronger.


Blessings Over and Exchange of the Rings

When exchanging rings, each of us says to the other a traditional phrase, “Behold you are consecrated unto me, with this ring, according to the tradition of Moses and Israel.”


The ketubah is a contract attesting to the commitments we make to each other as a married couple. Rather than use the traditional text, which reads like a pre-nup and/or purchase receipt, we decided to use text that reflects how we view our union. We will sign this document along with two witnesses. Note: Now we’re married!


Sheva Brachot (Seven Blessings)

With these prayers, the community recites their desires for us, our family, and the world around us. The traditional blessings will be read in Hebrew while a different set of blessings will be read by selected guests in English.


Breaking of the Glass

Dale will smash a glass with his foot. The Jewish people like to recall that even in times of joy, we acknowledge that life also includes sadness and sorrow. The broken glass reminds us that there are still parts of our world that remain broken, so as we commit to one another, we also commit to building a more equitable and just world.


Instruction to guests: After the groom smashes the glass it is customary to yell “Mazel Tov”!



Immediately after the ceremony, we will adjourn to a private room for several minutes of yichud (seclusion) to share our first moments together as husband and wife. We suspect that this tradition was incorporated to accommodate us introverts.


Instruction to guests: Please enjoy an adult beverage at the cocktail hour. You’ve earned it!



Thank You

Thank you all for making the trip out to PDX to take part in our wedding. We feel honored that you came to celebrate our marriage. Or perhaps you came to check out the craft beer scene. We’ll assume you came for us…

Though the ceremony is focused on our union, it couldn’t have happened without the wonderful friends and family (that’s you) who have made us who we are today.

As we set out on our journey, we know there will be pockets of darkness. May we have the courage to pass through. Let us honor our separateness but know that together our light is a beacon to show us our way.






September 2, 2017 — 11 Elul, 5777

The Armory in Portland, Oregon