Sunday, July 13, 2008

more from israel

gave you guys a bit of a break, here's the note i wrote after the wedding...

Mazel Tov! - June 17

everyone should have the chance to experience a jewish wedding.
weddings are always joyous occasions, but never have i been a part of
something so enthusiastically celebratory as this wedding. my people
know how to throw a party!

first of all, let me just say how stunning jennie looked. so beautiful
it brought tears to my eyes. shabi looked fantastic too. they were
perfect: gorgeous, glowing, and in love.

the venue was spectacular, a lovely garden with candlelight, a little
stream, an outdoor bar, and of course the huppah. first there was an
hour or so of mingling as people arrived, various stations set up
serving incredible appetizers. yum!

then the ceremony began. us siblings walked down the aisle and up under
the hoopah first. then shabi and his parents. everyone clapped. then my
parents led jennie to the start of the aisle. more clapping as shabi
walked to greet her and put her veil down. the ceremony itself was
pretty much all in hebrew, with myself, my brother, and my parents
reading a few translations. we didn't really know what was going on,
and when something was said to us in hebrew, we just gave a blank stare
until it was translated. "psst, david, give them the ring" and so on.

the ring was placed on jennie's index finger. shabi stomped on the
glass. Mazel tov, they were married!! we all hugged each other in
congratulations, and after getting in two hugs, i suddenly noticed that
the hoopah had been swarmed by the 200 plus guests. everyone was coming
up to hug and kiss and congratulate and be blessed my the bride and
groom!. it was chaos!! strangers and new extended family all wishing us
mazel tov. how wonderful!

then the real party began. we all went indoors to the tables and dance
floor. tons of food was on the tables, as well as bottles of water,
juice, wine and a bottle of vodka on each table. after a little while,
jennie and shabi entered. the room erupted in cheering and clapping and
everyone flooded the dance floor. instant insanity! the girls gathered
around jennie and the boys around shabi. each group was cheering and
spinning and grabbing hands and dancing in circles. jennie and shabi
were lifted on chairs, up! up! up! so much happiness bursting from
everyone. not that subdued happiness of weddings back home, but
vibrant, vocal, unrestrained happiness like i've never seen. we danced
and danced, rushing in circles of the hora, everyone twirling and
laughing. joy joy joy! no time to eat or drink, everyone was too busy

there was a ridiculous amount of food. the appetizers before the
ceremony, appetizers indoors, followed by a first course, then a main
course, then desserts. it wasn't a formal sit down dinner. food was
just placed on the tables, and you alternated between eating and
dancing. i really only got about 5 minutes of sitting time before being
beckoned back onto the dance floor. and i happily obliged.

so that was the wedding. constant dancing, laughing, eating, drinking,
and exhilaration that wouldn't allow me to stop smiling. it was so
festive, even the language barrier didn't matter. it was by far the
best wedding i've ever been to. even now as i think back to it, i feel
this overwhelming love wash over me.

that is how you have a wedding. that is how you celebrate love!!

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