Last Week (17 Feb. 2011) We Got Some In-Laws
In all truth, it was a relatively simple affair. Eric and Ella made it, as I had mentioned. But they picked out a hotel from a chain that is gobbling up the other chains here, and according to others, the food was delicious ( I thought it was delicious too, but I was hungry, and my judgment might be less than objective).
Adina got made up, had a new dress, I got the first new suit I have gotten in almost 23 years, and you can see the photos of the others. My son and daughter-in-law picked out a photographer (whose work I yet await) and a DJ, and my son had gotten only ONE demand from me - that there be no light show at the wedding. Avi (Eric - or Eeric in a NZ accent) brought two witnesses to the signing of the ketubá, the marriage contract. He makes undertakings, and the ketubá is a kind of pre-nup developed long before divorce lawyers existed. If, G-d forbid, the marriage does not work out, he has to pay Ella "two zuzim" (or is it two hundred zuzim?) - apparently in modern money, that is NIS 180,000 - if she demands it.
The witnesses were there to see several things occur. First of all they had to sign the ketubá - the wedding contract - second of all they had to hear Avi say the formula of marriage "b'taba'át zu aní m'kudéshet... " etc, and put a ring on Ella's right forefinger; thirdly they had to see Avi lift the veil from Ella's face, they had to listen to the reading of the contract, and finally, they had to see that the glass was broken at the ceremony. That is what the wedding is all about. In reality the rabbi is not even necessary. The groom makes contractual undertakings which are reduced to writing, gives the bride a ring, and a contract promising her that he will treat her according to the laws of Moses and Israel - and pay her so much money if the wedding does not work out.
There is a big feast afterwards, but that is just a minor detail.... right? Sure!!
Lib Oberg, a sweet, giggly kid from Queensland Australia, Ella's cousin, took a whole bunch of photos. This is the Hupá, the wedding canopy. If you look real close, you can see a guy with a small blue kippá on his bald head. That's me.
There were two "feedings" (unlike the weddings my wife was used to in the Middle West with one feeding, a cash bar and a dollar dance); the first feeding was the reception of the guests, when the guests would take finger foods... (or small meals) and a couple of drinks. There were lots of these and they were delicious! These folks were not liquor drinkers. Then there is the ceremony under the Hupá - the wedding canopy - where the reading of the contract takes place. There was a lot of dancing to escort the bride to the canopy. Then the actual ceremony takes place, and after which more dancing to escort the bride and groom to a small private place - where the marriage could be consummated, if the couple were so inclined - but which is described as a a first "meal" together. During this period of time, there was a lot of dancing, during which the first set of foods is removed - and the tables set up to be served.
When the bride and groom showed up, they were again escorted with dancing around them - and then there is even more dancing, much lifting up of the groom and carrying him around, and similar antics. The father often gets stuck onto a chair and folks dance around him as well, sometimes lifting his chair into the air. Especially if this is the last kid to be married off. I still have another son to marry off yet.
Then tired, and exhausted we sank into chairs and stuffed our faces with the main meal. In addition to a salad, and fish, we had a great choice - chicken balls (or maybe they were turkey balls), chicken, and steak! Do you know how long I has been since I've eaten steak? With one exception, a meal in J-lem with an Afrikaner friend and his brother, it has been over a decade!
Anyway, we had the entrée and rice and veggies, and then it was yet more dancing and carrying Avi on a chair like a king, and then Avi and Ella together like a king and queen. Then there was a dessert, and more dancing. Most of the time, the dancing was separate men and women - Jewish custom, you know - but at the end, the DJ started playing Scottish and English reels and my in-laws really started to kick up their feet and have a good time. Wow!! That was something to watch! The people who really meant something to us were there, and many were truly missed.
I missed my parents being there. I would have liked it if my cousins and nephews could have come, but in all truth, I doubt they would have. I'm sure my wife missed her mom and dad being there and especially her sister, nieces and nephews However, my parents, had they lived, would have been over 100, each of them.
My father-in-law has taken a number of turns for the worse lately, and couldn't have been there even if he wanted to be; my mother-in-law died over 10 years ago in her 70s.
So. I'm reasonable in what I ask for.... I don't suffer too much that way.