Sunday, September 4, 2016

Home is a Road: the Greenwald-Hromadka Ketubah

Mazal tov to Adam and Anne! I was so honored that they asked me to make their ketubah, and my wife and I were so pleased to celebrate with them today as they became husband and wife.

The Greenwald–Hromadka ketubah is a labyrinth: an intertwined collection of paths with infinite choices, and the potential for serendipity and coincidence. A labyrinth is designed for discovery; wandering is the intent, and every path leads to the center. A labyrinth encourages you to walk slowly, to pause here and there, to experience the path instead of just focusing on a destination. In Bereshit we read about Jacob wandering and wrestling with an angel; afterward, he realizes that he has found holy ground. That’s Adam and Anne’s story: walking the multitude of paths until they met, realizing they had found something holy, and then wandering those paths together. For Adam and Anne, home is a road.

The ketubah text is surrounded by this labyrinth, built in a palette of blues, purples, and reds. These are the colors of the mishkan — the desert tabernacle constructed by Bezalel and the Jewish people during their desert wanderings; it was a focus for worship and a work of art in itself. These colors also reference grapes (for wine and joy) and pomegranates (for fertility and the mitzvot). The building of the mishkan is a wonderful metaphor for the couple, combining Adam’s commitment to serving the Jewish community through his rabbinate, and Anne’s drive to bring beauty to the world through creation and curation; accordingly, verses from Shemot/Exodus chapter 26 are incorporated into the labyrinth.

The colorful spaces surrounded by and created by the wandering paths are cut-up comic books representing Adam and Anne — their courtship, their couplehood, and the life they are planning together. Adam’s intelligence and focus are found in the characters of Professor X (leader of the X-Men) and Mr. Terrific (the third smartest man in the world), and his passion is seen in his namesake Adam Strange, who travels between worlds to be with the love of his life. Anne’s creativity and her gypsy and cajun roots are represented in Gypsy (a member of the Justice League of America) and Rogue (a member of the X-Men, whose real name is Anna Marie), and the power of her love is personified by Star Sapphire.

The ketubah is filled with speech bubbles that relate to the couple and their wedding, and glimpses of the superheroes that stand in for them; there are allusions to many of their stories, including references to Los Angeles — which Adam and Anne describe as a key player in their relationship.

The Greenwald–Hromadka ketubah is made of cut-up comic books; this is a partial listing:

  • All-Star Superman #2 –Jan 2006
  • Archie #1 – May 2016
  • ETC #1 – 1989
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #15 – Feb 2003
  • Justice League of America #121 – Aug 1975; #234 – Jan 1985; #39 – Jan 2010
  • Justice Society of America #14 – May 2008
  • Loki #1 – Dec 2010
  • ODY-C #1 – Nov 2014
  • Promethea #31 – Oct 2004
  • Rogue #3 – Mar 1995; #4 – Apr 1995)
  • Runaways #15 – Jun 2006; #16 – Jul 2006
  • Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #15 – Apr 2007
  • Strange Adventures #1 – May 2009; #2 – Jun 2009
  • Superman: The Wedding Album #1 – Dec 1996
  • Swamp Thing #63 – Aug 1987
  • Tales of the Teen Titans #50 – Feb 1985
  • The Wedding of Deadpool #1 – Mar 2016
  • Ultimate X-Men #53 – Jan 2005
  • Wonder Woman #23.2 – Nov 2013
  • X-Factor #14 – Mar 1987
  • X-Men ‘92 #1 – Aug 2015