Making Connections: Old Photo Folklore and Jewish Marriage Corrections

Making Connections: Old Photo Folklore and Jewish Marriage Corrections

Readers respond to Family Tree Magazine.

Moo-ove over!

While reading “Getting the Picture” (April 2001) regarding ways to find pictures of camera-shy ancestors, I was reminded of a story, supposedly true. A man walked into a photo shop and asked if they could touch up old photos. When told yes, he handed over a picture and said, “Those are my great-grandfather’s legs behind that milk cow. We have no pictures of Great-grandfather. Can you remove the cow so we can see what he looked like?”

MADONNA DRIES CHRISTENSEN

via e-mail

Jewish marriage matters

I am writing about your article in the April 2001 issue on Jewish roots. The genealogical references were fine, but unfortunately there were a number of errors in the caption on the photograph of the bride and groom at the bottom of page 41. The term chalice is a Christian term for a drinking vessel and is not used at all in Judaism. The photo of the bride and groom does not show a kiddush cup (what a Christian might call a chalice). The prayer shawl (or scarf) as in this picture is a tallis or tallit. A traditional Jewish wedding will take place under a chuppah or wedding canopy. Some couples temporarily attach a large tallit to four posts, which may be held by four men during the ceremony or may be set in stands on the floor. The chuppah may also be decorated with flowers. However in no case does the chuppah touch the heads of the couple.

Also of special interest to genealogists, because a religious or traditional Jewish marriage is a contract, there is a Jewish legal document called a ketuhah, which is signed by two witnesses and at least by the groom and sometimes by the bride as well. This document may be bilingual or just in Aramaic (which is written in the Hebrew alphabet). The ketubah is the property of the wife and she is to keep it safe throughout her marriage. The ketuhah will give the Jewish name of the couple in patronymic form. If the groom or the father of the bride is a Cohen (Kohen) or Levi, this will be part of the patronymic form. A Cohen is a man who is descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses, through the paternal line only. A Levi is a man who is member of the Tribe of Levi through the paternal line only. Since Moses and Aaron were of the Tribe of Levi, every Cohen is also a Levi but the reverse is not true.

SARAH L. MEYER CHRISTIANSEN

Add, Iowa

Correction: A number of eagle-eyed readers have pointed out that the lighthouse pictured on page 53 of the June issue is not in Oregon as indicated. Our apologies for this error.

From the August 2001 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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