Wedding Ceremony

Catya Erin Belfer
David Evan Shevett

Reb Bonnie Cohen
August 31, 1997
The Hartwell House
Lexington, Massachusetts


    Best Woman and Groom's Attendants

      Melissa Weisshaus
      Joe Brock

    Man of Honor and Bride's Attendants

      Scott Blake
      Lee-Anne Flandreau
      Brian Belfer

    Groom and his Parents

      Dave, Bob and Martha Shevett

    Bride and her Parents

      Catya, Don and Pat Belfer

Friends, let us pray.
    O Thou who art the perfection of love, harmony and beauty,
    The Lord of Heaven and Earth,
    Open our hearts that we may hear thy voice
      which constantly comes from within.

    Disclose to us thy divine light

      which is hidden in our souls
      that we may know and understand life better.

    Most merciful and gracious God,

      Give us thy great goodness,

    Teach us thy loving forgiveness,
    Raise us above the distinctions and differences

      which divide people.

    Send us the peace of thy divine spirit,
    And unite us all in thy perfect being.

And let us all say, "Amen"

It is truly a pleasure for me to be here with you today to witness the marriage of Catya and Dave, realizing that marriage is a union of families and not just individuals, and what a wonderful and unique family this is. Catya and Dave are a wonderful couple, they know where they came from, where they are going, and what they want their marriage to be like. They also had some very creative suggestions for this ceremony and have contributed many of the readings you will hear this morning.

"The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but one of respect and joy in each other's life" (Richard Bach)

"The more you love, the more you can love - and the more intensely you love. Nor is there any limit on how many you can love. If a person had enough time, he could love all of that majority who are decent and just." (Heinlein)

"Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to so with them is up to you." (Richard Bach)

Dave would like to acknowledge the memory of his Grandpa Henry and Grandma Rhoda Shevett, his Grandma Rhoda took care of him when he was little, she would feed him foods that he wouldn't usually eat, but when Grandma gave it to him he would eat it!

Dave is sorry that his Mema Bonnie and his Grandpa Herman Wilhete were not able to be with us today, they are in our thoughts.

Dave is also sorry that his sister Sarah couldn't be here, although there was lots of sibling rivalry when they were kids, he's grateful they were able to become friends when they grew up.

Dave would like to thank his parents Martha and Bob for being really good parents; thanks to his mother for giving him a love of music, and to his father for teaching him to enjoy using his mind and working with his hands.

Catya would like to acknowledge the memory of both of her grandfathers, Grandpa Herb Belfer, and Grandpa Merrill Callum. Catya was very close to her grandpa Merrill, she wishes he could have been here today, he would have been very happy and proud, he is with us today in Catya's heart and we rejoice in the continuity of life from generation to generation.

Catya would like to thank her mother Pat for starting her on the path of being a strong independent woman, to thank her father Don for teaching her determination, and to thank her brother Brian for being a brother who turned into a friend.

All of you gathered here today are part of Dave and Catya's extended family; whether you've traveled the highways or the skyways, whether you've come from the other side of the mountain or the other side of town, we welcome you.

Catya and Dave, you are both strong and beautiful people. May you always be a balance for each others energy, and may the harmony created from this balance empower and enable you to grow to reach your fullest potential as individuals and as a couple. Each sex is made of the element of its complement, the female born of the seed of the male, and the male molded in the womb of the female. May your life together always be a reflection of this mystical union.

"You are led through your life by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them" (Richard Bach)

From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, On Marriage

Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart.
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

The bible teaches us that we have been appointed as custodians, trustees to wisely care for the land. We are instructed to love with all out hearts, with all our souls, and with all our might, to do good deeds, to walk gently upon the earth and to continue to GROW. If we do these things we are assured that we will be given rain, so that we may enjoy the grain, fruits and oil that were intended to be our staple foods.


Look at this wonderful chupa, the frame was put together by Catya's brother Brian, and we have four talisim as the roof; one if from Dave's Bar Mitzvah, one belongs to Catya's father, and the other two belonged to Catya's grandfathers. The wedding canopy is a symbol of a roof of protection over this couple. We look forward to the day when the sky will be a roof of protection over all people, when all will have equal
opportunities and the encouragement to fulfill their dreams, and all people will be respectful of each others choices and the diversity within our human family.

A song of peace...

    ufros aleynu sukat shalom - spread over us your canopy of peace

      ufros aleynu...
      Here in Lexington and there at Homeport
      Spread over them your canopy of peace.
      Here in Massachusetts and there in the Middle East...
      Here in our hearts and there in the whole wide world
      Spread over us your canopy of peace
      ufros aleynu...

You are probably wondering why we've asked you to hold a stone in your hand during the ceremony. There is an ancient Jewish custom called the ketubah - the wedding contract, in modern language it would be called a prenuptial agreement. Originally a ketubah listed how many chickens, cows, and feather pillows each brought to the marriage, it was read into the wedding ceremony and then handed to the bride. I have a different concept of ketubah, for me a ketubah should be something beautiful that will always remind the bride and groom of the magic and love they share today. In years to come, of there's tension in the home they can look at their ketubah and their energy will change. For the ketubah, Catya and Dave have chosen a bowl filled with your blessings, as symbolized by the stones you are holding in your hands.

At this time we will have a brief meditation, a prayer for world peace, love, and unity. If you have not been holding the stone you were given, please put it into your hands now.

Please close you eyes and visualize a circle of light surrounding this couple and wedding party. ... Now think about the good intentions you wish for Dave and Catya, ... picture your wishes going out from your hands into the stones which you are holding. ... Visualize rays of light shining out from this group, ... encircling the earth, ... creating a ripple of peace throughout out planet for the sake of our children and our grandchildren.

I'm going to count backwards from 4, at the count of one please open your eyes, you will feel joyfully alive and happy to be here. At the end of the ceremony, please put your stones into the bowl up front. 4...3...2...1...

Wedding Blessings

We acknowledge the Unity of all, expressing our appreciation for this wine, symbol of the abundance in our lives and aid to our rejoicing.

We acknowledge the Unity of all, expressing our appreciation for moment, realizing that each previous moment has led us and prepared us for this day.

We acknowledge the Unity of all, expressing our appreciation for all living things, the interdependence of all life, and the blessing of being born human.

We acknowledge the Unity of all, realizing the special gift of awareness that permits us to share in the joy of others.

"The Peace of Wild Things" (Wendell Berry)

    When weariness of the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    and ponder what my life and my children's lives may be
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
    I come onto the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day blind starts
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


Do you, Catya, of your own free will, take Dave to be your husband, do you promise to give him friendship, honesty, trust, support, openness, respect, equality, and a love that will challenge him to grow, constantly striving to be a better human being?

Do you, Dave, of your own free will, take Catya to be your wife, do you promise to give her friendship, honesty, trust, support, openness, respect, equality, and a love that will challenge her to grow, constantly striving to be a better human being?

A poem translated from the Spanish, by Pablo Neruda.

    I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
    or arrow of carnations that propagate fire;
    I love you as certain dark things are loved,
    secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
    I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
    hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
    and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
    lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

    I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
    I love you simply, without problems or pride:
    I love you in this way because I don't know any other
    way of loving but this,
    in which there is no I or you,
    so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
    so intimate that when I fall asleep
    it is your eyes I close.

Ring Ceremony

Look at each other and repeat after me, first Catya, then Dave

    With this ring I give to you my promise
    that from this day forward
    you need never walk alone

The wedding ring is the outer, visible sign of an inner spiritual connection. May all who see these rings on your fingers be respectful and supportive of your marriage.

Completion of the Wedding Blessings

Hebrew Wine Blessing

We acknowledge the Unity of All, and we highlight today bride & groom, respect and trust, openness and love. May we witness the day when the dominant sounds throughout the earth will be the sounds of happiness, the voices of lovers, the sounds of feasting and singing. May rejoicing resound throughout the world as persecution and oppression cease, and all people learn to live in peace with their environment.

Apache Wedding Blessing

    Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be a shelter to the other.
    Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.
    Now you will feel no loneliness for each of you will be companion to the other.
    Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life between you.
    Go now to your dwelling place, to enter into the days of your life together.
    May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years.
    May happiness be your companion to the place where the river meets the sun.
    And may your days be good and long on the earth.

    This marriage be wine with halvah, honey dissolving in milk
    This marriage be the leaves and fruit of a date tree.
    This marriage be women laughing together for days on end.
    This marriage, a sign for us to study.
    This marriage, beauty.
    This marriage, a moon in light blue sky.
    This marriage, this silence, fully mixed with spirit (Rumi)

Hebrew Threefold Blessing And Transmission Of Energy

All of us present here today who have witnessed this wedding ceremony, now pronounce you husband and wife.

The Bride And Groom Each Break A Glass

The Kiss

Klezmer Shahechianu

Blessed are You, Guiding Spirit of the Universe, who has sustained us, kept us, and allowed us to reach this joyous day.

Hebrew Shahechianu Blessing

Mazel Tov!