Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wedding, Israel Style

I don’t know if we’ve written about Israeli weddings before – I’d be surprised if we hadn’t. There is simply nothing like them in the world. I really think that they are the number one example of the Israeli way of life.

We went to a wedding this week of two people in the yishuv. These are families who have both lived in the yishuv for many years and were marrying their children to each other. The wedding took place in an incredible location overlooking the desert in a place called Mitzpe Yericho. There is an energy and enthusiasm at Israeli weddings that is hard to describe without being there. The weddings are much less formal than those in the States. The guests sing and dance the bride and the groom to the chuppah (along with their parents) and then everyone stands as the ceremony takes place. The musicians play during the wedding at various points, when certain blessings are recited, and everyone claps and dances for joy. When the wedding ends, all of the guests escort the bride and groom from the chuppah, literally dancing in front of them in a semi-circle.

The groom’s family is very musical, and at this particular wedding, the groom’s father actually composed and sang a song to the couple under the chuppah. It was so heart-felt and touching to see him singing to his son and to see the outpouring of love that they all showed. Then, of course, there is dinner and dancing – but the dancing isn’t just regular dancing. It’s incredibly lively and enthusiastic (separate dancing) where the job of the guests is to make as much entertainment for the bride and groom as possible. At one point, the brothers of the bride put the groom on a huge board and raised him over their heads. They brought him to his bride and the two of them danced on this board, supported by guests that were holding them up.

We can’t wait to see our boys get married in this fashion and to watch the enthusiasm and unbridled energy that their brothers will show at their weddings. During the ceremony, the baby was kicking, and I thought it was such great timing. It's so strange to think that this baby, that isn't even born yet, will someday stand under a chuppah while we sing and dance - and give him away. He was making his presence known, as I'm sure he will in many other ways soon enough.

There is really nothing to compare to an Israeli wedding – you’ve got to see it for yourself to understand the difference!

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