This ceremony is intended to take place following a traditional Get ceremony, or, if the couple is unwilling to have a get, instead of one. The ceremony takes place after a Havdalah service, and present are the couple, their son, the rabbi, and two witnesses.
Rabbi: At the time of Havdalah, we mark separations and differentiations: the separation between time set aside as sacred and time used for work; the distinction between light and darkness; and the separation between Shabbat and the rest of the week. At this particular Havdalah, you, _______ and ___________, have chosen to mark your separation from each other, the ending of your marriage. At your wedding, you set each other apart from the rest of the world as kadosh, holy to each other, and commited yourselves to growing and changing as a couple. Now you will let go of that set-apartness, and release each other into the world to grow as individuals.
(Witnesses), you are here both because of your individual connections to ____ and ________, and their son __________and as representatives of the larger community of friends and family surrounding them.
Witness: I am here to witness the ending of this marriage, and to affirm that I support this choice. I promise to be there for (son), now and as he grows, and to help my friend (woman) through this time of transition.
Witness 2: I am here to witness the ending of this marriage, and to affirm that I support this choice. I promise to be there for (son), now and as he grows, and to help my brother ________ through this time of transition.
Rabbi: Now that you have affirmation from your community, and commitments of support from them, it it is time for you to verbally release each other from your marriage.
Woman: I, _________, release you, __________ from our marriage contract. You are free to marry any other. I release you from any obligation for my well-being, emotional, physical, and spiritual, save that which you have for any human being. Barukh attah b'tzeitekha m'nisuin ha-eleh - blessed are you in your going-out from this marriage.
Man: I, ________, release you, __________, from our marriage contract. You are free to marry any other. I release you from any obligation for my well-being: emotional, physical, and spiritual, save that which you have for any human being. B'rukhah at b'tzeitekh m'nisuin ha-eleh - blessed are you in your going-out from this marriage.
Rabbi: Now that you have released each other from the bonds of your marriage, you have chosen to reinforce the connections and responsibilities that you will continue to share, connections and responsibilities which reflect your ongoing roles as parents and community members.
Man and woman together: In our new freedom, we remember our continuing connection to each other through our son, our friends, and the community we share.
to honor each other's role as parent to our son
to maintain civility in all our interactions with each other,
and to give each other the space that we need.
Rabbi: B'rukhim atem b'tzeitchem, u'brukhim atem b'voeichem. May you both be blessed in your going out from this marriage, and may you both be blessed as you enter into new phases in your lives. May you continue to learn and grow, and may you rejoice together at the simchas of your son.
I wish you both a shavua tov and a chayim chadashim tovim. A good week and a good new life.
All: Chayim chadashim tovim.