Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Walking Together:
The Lutz-Goldin Ketubah

The complete, finished ketubah (36" x 36")
This weekend my wife and I attended the wedding of Adam Lutz and Emma Goldin — friends of ours whose ketubah I created — at Temple Emanu-el in San Francisco, officiated by the groom's father, Rabbi Barry Lutz. It's always a privilege and a pleasure to be involved in a simcha, especially for such a cute couple!

I titled their ketubah "Walking Together," and it tells the story of their courtship, incorporating cut-up comics, maps, and other ephemera to reflect their unique story and the love they have for each other. Adam and Emma wrote the text of the ketubah, which is surrounded by the words of Hosea 2:21–22 (of special significance to the couple).

Signing the ketubah

Adam and Emma fell in love in Israel during their first year as students at Hebrew Union College, so their ketubah takes the form of a map of Jerusalem, where they were living at the time. Their dates were walks through the city, particularly before Shabbat, going from Emma’s apartment near Damascus Gate to Machane Yehuda — and the structure of the piece mirrors these special moments, encouraging the eye to travel along the paper paths and take in the scenery.

After cutting the top layer I was almost tempted to stop and call it perfect already...

There are pieces of a 1996 National Geographic map of Jerusalem showing the western side of the city and the paths that lead to Hebrew Union College, and a comic book snippet of golden apples alluding to the food stalls at Machane Yehuda (an appreciation for fine food being a shared trait of the bride and groom as well).

Adam and Emma continued walking after they moved to New York, and their ketubah includes part of an antique map of the island as well as comic pieces showing elements of the familiar skyline. As their wedding was celebrated at Temple Emanu-El, in addition to the Golden Gate Bridge and other architectural elements from the city there is also part of a vintage De Beers Diamonds advertisement from 1945 featuring the synagogue.

The speech bubbles are from an X-Men comic; the image of Temple Emanu-El from a vintage De Beers ad.

Adam’s name is represented by Adam Strange, a DC hero known for being a passionate and faithful husband, and Emma’s by Emma Frost, a Marvel hero who is also a passionate and loving partner. Emma says that if Adam had super powers he would be most like Professor X of the X-Men, because of his intelligence, and so he is also included in the ketubah — and so is Mister Terrific, known as one of the smartest heroes in the world.

Professor X is a stand-in for Adam, passionately calling out to his bride.

Emma calls to her love just as passionately.

Adam says that Emma’s beautiful voice might have its parallel in the powers of Black Canary, Dazzler and Siryn, who use their voices to fight for right. Adam’s Hebrew name, Ze’ev, is alluded to by the presence of a hero named Jack Russell who takes the form of a werewolf (and was raised in the greater Los Angeles area), while Emma’s Hebrew name, Devorah, is alluded to in the black-and-yellow honeybee-like costume of Siryn. There’s even a panel in which Adam Strange meets Black Canary, from a 1975 issue of Justice League of America in which Adam (finally) gets married.

I bought a 1975 issue of Justice League of America because it featured Adam's wedding,
but it also had this surprisingly perfect panel I decided to incorporate.

There are numerous wedding details in the ketubah, including rings and declarations of love, and white roses as well, which Emma will carry on her wedding day. The observant viewer will also find references to the glass they broke under the hupah, and the wine that they shared there. And of course, a few pieces of their wedding invitation.

The background comics include:
  • Action Comics #233 (November 2013)
  • Adam Strange #1 (November 2004), #2 (December 2004)
  • Astonishing X-Men #10 (May 2005), #14 (June 2006), #27 (November 2008), #36 (April 2011), #51 (August 2012) – rings and white roses, #62 (July 2013)
  • Batman: The Dark Knight #4 (February 2012)
  • Birds of Prey #16 (March 2013)
  • Captain Atom #3 (January 2012)
  • Daredevil #1 (May 2014) – New York skyline
  • Dazzler #2 (April 1981)
  • Dream Logic #4 (October 2011)
  • Giant-Size Kung Fu Bible Stories #1 (July 2014)
  • Giant-Size X-Men #3 (2005)
  • Green Arrow #30 (April 2010) – Sing, Canary, Sing!
  • Infinite Vacation #5 (January 2013)
  • Justice League #33 (October 2014), #34 (December 2014)
  • Justice League of America #121 (August 1975) – Adam’s wedding
  • Max Ride #4 (June 2015)
  • Mister Terrific #2 (December 2011) – Golden Gate Bridge
  • ODY-C #1 (November 2014)
  • Revival #16 (December 2013)
  • Strange Adventures #1 (May 2009), #2 (June 2009)
  • Superman #226 (April 2006), #23.3 (November 2013)
  • Wolverine: Xisle #1 (June 2003)
  • X-Factor #244 (November 2012)
  • X-Force #16 (November 1992) – Siryn