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Reviewed by Java Davis for Readers' Favorite
Rabbi Bruce D. Forman and Shoshannah Brombacher have written a friendly and conversational book illustrating the Jewish philosophy of the marriage contract, the wedding ceremony, and some hints for staying happily married throughout your life. The book’s title, Under the Chuppah, refers to the traditional Jewish canopy under which a couple marries. There is a detailed glossary in the back of the book that explains critical Hebrew and Yiddish terms. The book is certainly Jewish-centric, but good advice is good advice, wherever it comes from.
In Under the Chuppah, Rabbi Forman and Doctor Brombacher go through the entire marriage process, beginning with why two people have chosen to marry. Have they fallen in love, or will that happen over time? Does the couple really have a foundation upon which to build a lifetime commitment? Forman and Brombacher move on to explain why certain traditions have evolved, why marriage is important, and then the nuts and bolts of planning a ceremony. The planning includes stories about the physical marriage contract, the ketubah, which is a real, physical document that typically becomes an ornate art piece in the home. The authors make suggestions for vows and offer different examples of wedding parts that may be included in the ceremony. There are even instructions on how to make your own chuppah. There are discussions of ancient traditions coupled with illustrative folk tales. Later, the authors give solid marital advice about keeping one’s spouse happy and the importance of sex in God’s plan for procreation.
Shoshannah Brombacher has included many of her own illustrations. A color copy of this book will go a long way toward the enjoyment of it. Many of the illustrations are similar in style to the famous Jewish artist Marc Chagall. Anyone who is planning a wedding and is looking for inspiration might wish to include Under the Chuppah as part of their research.