In my line of work as a ketubah artist, I have the pleasure of meeting many wonderful couples from all over the world and all different backgrounds ranging from Orthodox, to Interfaith to Same Sex. I so enjoy hearing getting to know them that I have decided to chronicle some of their love stories here for all to enjoy! Today, meet Suzi. She and her husband Alex have been married for 6 years!
How did you meet your husband? - at a temp job. He was kind of my boss, but he didn't want to be because he liked me. For example. I would go to him with my timesheets and he would say, "oh I'm not your boss, have so-and-so fill it out." This was confusing to me because he was the warehouse manager at the time and I was working in the warehouse doing what he told me to do.
What was the first thing you thought when you saw him? I liked him right away because he was singing loudly and off-key as he was working. You have to love a guy who sings off key and doesn't care what people think.
At which point did you know he was the one? - not sure. I was still uncertain when he proposed, but that's just me I think.
Were there any hints that this would be for good on your first date? - no but I did like the fact that he made a nice effort for the first date - got movie tickets in advance, made restaurant reservations, picked up the tab, kept up a good conversation.
How long after you met did you get engaged? 3 1/2 years
When and how did he or you propose? - He's always been the kind of guy who's 10 steps ahead of me (e.g., on our second date he was already inviting me to something two months out). So, it was no surprise that he proposed to me a few times before I was ready - in front of friends at a bar, a spontaneous proposal over the phone at the wee hours of the morning, sitting on his couch in his apartment, in a fancy restaurant. Each time was different, but I finally said yes when we were in a more intimate setting and we were having a serious discussion about our future.
How long was your engagement? A little over a year
What did you love about being engaged? - I really started to like the wedding planning. I kind of liked showing off my ring, too =).
What did you hate about being engaged? I disliked calling him my fiance. Something about that title bugs me.
What is the thing you love most about being married to him? I don't know. I really trust him. I like having someone who I can count on when times get tough and who I can have fun with when times are good. I know that he'll support me no matter what. Sometimes the little things really get to him, but he really steps up to the plate when I need him most.
Now that you have been married for some time, what are the things that remind you of that sparkly excitement from the very beginning of your relationship? - Sometimes we have a really good discussion about something, and I remember that I really enjoy the fact that he challenges me. Also, sometimes we're outright silly together, and that reminds me of the early days as well. I kind of like when we're being so silly that other people look at us oddly as if to say, "what's up with those two?"
I am fortunate in my line of work to work with many wonderful couples to help them create their dream ketubah. Occasionally, I get a particularly ambitious couple that decides to write their own ketubah text. Traditionally a ketubah text is a very formal prenuptial agreement, but nowadays, with even non Jewish couples often times choosing to include a ketubah as part of their marriage ceremony, many approach their ketubah text much like their wedding vows, as promises to each other... and sometimes the ketubah text is the wedding vows, coupled with a meaningful visual work of art. All that said, a few weeks ago I received a ketubah text which was not only touching and thoughtful, but also absolutely hilarious. This couple clearly takes their love with a big ol' sense of humor. I thought this was such a creative and unique approach that, with their permission, I am sharing it here. Enjoy! On the ___ day of the month of ____, in the year 2012, here in _____, Vermont, in the presence of family and friends, Robin Joy Adler and Benjamin Bartlett Weber affirmed their union of marriage and made these promises to each other: As we share daily life, we promise to love, honor, respect and cherish each other; to celebrate life’s joys together and comfort each other through life’s sorrows. We promise to help each other fulfill our dreams and discover and follow our own true path; to appreciate our differences as a source of richness; and above all to do everything within our power to permit each other to grow and thrive. We promise to treasure, enjoy and continue the traditions we have; to create new traditions and a home filled with love and peace, balance and freedom, generosity and compassion, learning and exploration. May our hearts be united in love and our lives be intertwined forever in tenderness and devotion.
In executing our vows we hold these truths to be self-evident:
We hold this relationship above all others and will work together to protect, nurture, deepen and strengthen it always;
This is a relationship of equals;
Each will always be the conscience of the other;
Memory will not be evidence of right;
Inquiry will trump anger or accusation;
Solving problems will take precedence over problems themselves;
We will show each other caring and appreciation daily and will ask the following: What have I given? What have I received? How did I make the other’s day harder?
We will not hide things that are bothering us;
We are both human and will recognize each other’s failings and show compassion;
Sex will always hold a place of honor and importance in our relationship;
Ben (aka “The Duke of Roxbury”) gets to look at Robin (aka “The Queen of Pluto”), realize how beautiful she is, smile, and she may not smirk;
Both parties agree to keep their marksmanship up to par. Should either party fail in this regard the other is entitled to twenty goats;
No one shall be deemed to make a better brisket than the Queen of Pluto and no man shall ever, under any circumstances, be deemed more handsome than the Duke of Roxbury;
The Duke of Roxbury shall retain the right to disappear on the opening day of duck, turkey, partridge and deer season. The Queen of Pluto retains the right to demand that all dead animals be cleaned and butchered before entering the house;
The Duke of Roxbury shall, to the best of his ability, not subject the Queen of Pluto to his poetry. In the unlikely event that he should do so she shall concede that such verse rivals the genius of Shakespeare, Byron, Frost and Ginsburg;
The Queen of Pluto always gets a maid. In return the Duke of Roxbury will always have a microwave (lest he find himself stirring his oatmeal over an electric stove like some early-American pioneer);
We will take Sam to the Air and Space Museum, Constitution Hall, and will prepare him both emotionally and materially for his junior prom;
We will go to all the places we want to go. Thank you so much guys, for sharing your beautiful and very creative text with us! We wish you a Mazel Tov on your upcoming special day and a long, fulfilling life together. May you never stop making each other smile!
One of the strangest phone calls I’ve ever had to make was to my parents to tell them I was getting married. The ultimate weirdness of this phone call can be summed up with my mom’s response… after a tense pause she said, “to whom?”
So here’s the story:
Once upon a time, an oblivious Russian-American Jewish girl spent a summer in an office in Jerusalem, at a desk next to an Argentinean-Israeli boy who kept trying to get her attention. The girl was so oblivious; however, that even when the cute Argentisraeli asked her on a “date”, she eagerly accepted and even brought a friend along. But in her defense, the plan for this “date” was to go hear a panel on Palestinian Reform at the Knesset (Israeli parliament)… not exactly your typical dinner and a movie, no wonder the girl was confused! The boy; however, was right in figuring that this kind of unusual event was the only way to get the Russian space cadet’s attention. During that non-date, the Argentine boy casually joked that he was eventually planning on marrying the girl, who at that moment finally realized that the boy might be interested in her as more than a coworker who shared his interest in Mideast politics. The third-wheeler friend tactfully made her exit right around then, and the boy and girl spent a lovely evening in a Jerusalem coffee shop, talking about life and finishing each other’s sketchpad doodles (they also both loved to draw). After the boy walked the girl home, as a perfect finish to a perfect non-date, the girl got a flue and left Israel without ever coming back to the office. To her dismay, the cute Argentisraeli boy never called.
One might think the story would have ended there, except that Fate intervened. The girl left Israel and spent that year in New York, becoming somewhat of an expert J-Dater. Her dream was to move to Israel, so she found every excuse not to get too attached to any local boys and to fly to Israel as often as possible. About a year after the non-date with the Argentinean boy, the girl was on another visit to Israel and was walking down the boardwalk in Eilat (a southern resort town) with her girlfriends and her little brother who had come on the trip with her. It is important to this story to mention that the New York year had not been kind to the Russian-American girl and in her struggle with conquering the Big Apple, she had gained twenty pounds. It’s also important to mention that her skin was not reacting well to travel and was therefore beginning to resemble a greasy slice of NY pepperoni pizza, and due to the very tight travel budget of a recent college grad trying to live in Manhattan, she had also not showered in a little too long. It was probably the last possible moment that she would have wanted to run into the cute boy from the summer before, but as fate would have it, they literally bumped into each other on that boardwalk. She quickly noticed the statuesque model- thin, blonde, Goddess of a girl accompanying the boy, which of course made her feel all that much more frumpy. The boy, however, quickly introduced the Goddess as his sister, visiting from Argentina (what a relief!) and suggested that they meet back on the boardwalk at 9 o’clock that evening. The girl gladly agreed. (As a side note, in her future life together with an Argentinean boy, the girl would learn that all Argentine women look like Goddesses. She still doesn’t know what unfair distribution of genes causes this effect, but it’s a fact).
At nine o’clock that evening, the freshly showered and shaved boy waited at the meeting point for what he thought was his second date with the oblivious cartoon and politics lover from the summer before. To his dismay, the girl showed up freshly showered and made up (a good sign), but with an entourage of her two girlfriends and eleven year old brother (surely not a good sign). The boy was starting to wonder what exactly was wrong with this girl and why she felt compelled to bring backup to every date. The girl on the other hand, was wondering where the boy’s sister was? She had assumed that when he suggested “they” meet up, he had meant all of them.
Lucky for him, it didn’t take long for the girl’s friends to sense the situation and claim “sudden, overwhelming and inexplicable exhaustion”, retreating to their hotel and taking her little brother with them.
That night, over red wine on the white sands of an Eilat beach, under a full moon (I am not making this up!), the South American professed his plans to “wait for her”, and threw around words like “destiny” and “forever” while his cynical, Ukranian-American date, struggled desperately to shut out the earsplitting warning sirens in her head (not to mention the overwhelming gag reflex).
And that’s how the relationship continued, with the boy always a step ahead. While the girl was comprising schemes to find out if they were “exclusive” and if she could consider him her “boyfriend” (she was too American to flat out ask), the boy casually told her that he was planning to marry her (for the second time since they met). It didn’t take long for the girl to catch up though, and to realize that this romantic, strangely decisive, macho teddy bear of a man was the one for her. She moved to Israel two months later and within 6 days of her arrival they were officially engaged.
That’s when I had to make the crazy phone call to my parents.
Do you have a “How I met my Husband/Wife/Fiance/Best Friend/Next Door Neighbor” story? Get in touch on my facebook page: www.fb.com/AnnaAbramzonStudio and maybe I’ll write about you next!
When I was approached by a beautiful bride who is getting ready to walk down the aisle in a few months about designing her wedding invitations, I did not expect the project to take me by the hand and lead me on a nostalgic stroll through the old city of Jerusalem.
She had met her fiance on a trip to Israel: a trip that changed their lives not only in meeting each other, but in discovering a spiritual connection to the land that has affected them deeply. This phenomenon is not uncommon in the capital of Israel, where each year countless unsuspecting travelers find themselves moved and changed by the windy alleys, the ancient air, the stones that have watched whole civilizations come and go. No one can truly explain how this city so easily takes you under her spell... causing people to change their lifestyles, move countries, or spend their lives daydreaming about her, praying towards her, or with great melancholy painting her from a distance, but I can personally vouch that nothing is as magical as meeting your soul mate in that surreal city. And I find that wherever you end up living, Jerusalem stays a part of your relationship whether you lived there for a decade or only visited for a week.
It is with this sentimental state of mind that I try to capture the enchantment and strength of this powerful, captivating place that brought this couple together. Needless to say, I am enjoying it immensely!
Here come the sketches, based on photos from their journey...with their permission, I will post the final invites when they are completed.