The Temple-Tifereth Israel museum opens wedding exhibit

Story and Photography by Amanda Koehn

Looking for ideas inspired by past Northeast Ohio Jewish weddings, as well as Judaica from around the world? You can likely glean insight from a new exhibit at The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood, which features wedding fashion and keepsakes both from local congregants and Jewish couples as far as the Middle East and Europe, dating to as far as the mid-1800s. 

“My Beloved is Mine: Jewish Wedding Rituals, Stories and Sacred Objects,” housed in the Temple’s Museum of Jewish Art, Religion and Culture, will have the special items on display through August, rotating in and out different congregants’ wedding items. 

The chuppah, with fabric designed by The Temple congregants for the exhibit.

As part of the exhibit, members chose fabric for a chuppah, placed in the center of the museum. Two wedding dresses are also featured, one from a 1924 wedding at the Temple, and another first worn in 1964 and later redesigned to fit the bride’s three daughters at their subsequent weddings – a story told in a 2008 edition of Jstyle Weddings.

The museum holds a range of ketubot from around the world, as well as photo albums and items from congregants’ weddings. Another hallway within the Temple displays congregants’ ketubot and marriage stories. 

A ketubah from Isfahan, Iran from 1860.

Sue Koletsky, director of the museum, says she wanted to create a wedding exhibit at the Temple for a long time and was ultimately inspired by the museum’s collection.

“We have these beautiful, historic ketubot and I wanted to share them with the congregants and the community,” she says. “Then it just kind of made perfect sense to expand it so we have our stories – our contemporary stories, our memories – as part of this exhibition because part of what I love to do is bring and engage our congregation, the community and traditions. That’s what’s meaningful to us.”

Want to hear the stories behind the items? At 2 p.m. Feb. 24, members will tell their wedding stories. Visitors are welcome to bring their own ketubot to share and discuss. For the to-be-married, there should be no shortage of stories and items from which to learn and celebrate. 

Evelyn Kolinsky married William Weidenthal in 1924. Her dress is on loan for the exhibit from the Western Reserve Historical Society.

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