Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Dance of Their Lives


As I've probably written here before, I love Israeli weddings. There is a completely different atmosphere at an Israeli wedding than there is at most other weddings. They are much more laid-back and incredibly festive. Last night was no exception.

We went to a beautiful wedding set in the hills of Gush Etzion. The bride and groom have both been raised in Neve Daniel and the families have known each other for many years.

It's pretty much a guarantee that I'll have a good cry at the wedding,usually during the chuppah. During Israeli weddings, the bride and groom's friends escort them to the chuppah with a never-ending supply of dancing and singing. Once the ceremony is over, they burst onto the scene once again, escorting the new couple away from the chuppah. I always get choked up when I see these tall, distinguished looking young men dancing around their brothers and friends. It makes me think of my own boys, so little now, escorting each other to the wedding canopy and reaching such a monumental moment in all of our lives.

What made last night's affair particularly memorable for me was one small incident. When the wedding ceremony ended and everyone had begun to descend from the chuppah platform, the mother and father of the groom (great friends and neighbors of ours) suddenly and spontaneously broke into a dance together. There were hundreds of people singing and clapping for the bride and groom as they walked away from the chuppah - but it was as if the parents were in their own world, all by themselves.

The music played and they danced a love ballad of hope, joy, renewal and promise in a universe all their own. They were the only people left under the chuppah, and the inky night sky, combined with the vivid white of the chuppah, combined with the exuberance of their dance was an incredible sight to see.

It was one of the most beautiful, surreal moments I've ever witnessed, conveying the undying love of an older couple, the joy at seeing their son join in the bond of marital happiness, and the new-found freedom that they may now enjoy, as their last child leaves the home.

It was the dance of their lives set in front of all of their guests at their son's wedding.

Standing there under the night sky of Gush Etzion, I cried like I've never cried at a wedding before.

"What's wrong?" Josh asked me.

"Nothing," I sobbed, pointing at Nava and Yonatan. "Absolutely nothing."

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