Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sunday: the wedding

So when I left off, i had trudged back home. Rob and I checked in for a few minutes and fell asleep. We woke up about five hours later. Joseph stirred me and it was time for a new day. Arise like a lion to do god's work!, i thought. I swung my legs around and was shocked by how sore and tight they were from all the gallivanting around the previous day. i donned a dark pink shirt, tied a flowery tie and went to breakfast. I sat down with shamir*power, Jacob Feinspan, and Suzanne F. We got the sad news that one of their cats had "made a bid for freedom". Our four seat table also received wonderful guests ruby-k and General anna before i left. Joseph, Marsha Beller, and I set out for Talya and Josh's wedding in Arlington Mass.
En route, we talked a lot about the class joseph had taught on hearing palestinian voices. We spoke about how to move Federations away from supporting institutions who play direct and indirect roles in the occupation. Actually, I mostly listened (weird).
As we arrived in Arlington talk of Palestine turned to smiles of simcha. We were arriving at a wedding. What an exciting moment. We walked into the town hall, which we found easily. We got ready. Then Joe and I looked around and didn't see the folks. We went out back and saw that they were taking pictures still. This was a progressive intellectuals meet israeli artist kibbutzniks wedding, so i am not really sure why we showed up on time, but it was good. I saw some of the philadelphia contingent. a few minutes later i got into a separate conversation with ari weisbard. it was great to see him again. unsurprisingly, we quickly got into questions of how to build progressive movements.
After a bit more schmooze and picture time, it was off to the tisch(es). I went to Talya's first and friends started streaming in, ilana, emma, jarah, and tons of other folks. there was a song booklet, some israeli dancing, and a fantastic combination of music. i particularly liked singing lemon tree with the rest of the tisch folks. we were encouraged to write brachot and i did so with pleasure. next jarah, joseph, and i went to josh's tisch. when we walked in l'chaims were being made and we didn't hesitate to join in. it was still before noon, but it was a wedding, and an honor to be able to drink and be merry with the groom. Josh was discussing how his life was full of things that took 15 minutes to explain, he plays viola de gamba, is a Feldernkrais practitioner, and he was marrying a reconstructionist rabbi. He began to explain what these various things were. Joseph, Jarah, and I shot glances back and forth. "is he trying to explain or get interrupted?". Many tisches (a pre-wedding jewish ritual) feature the groom (or recently bride) teaching. (S/)He begins and pretty soon someone interrupts with a vaguely connected tangent that results in a story or more often a song, sometimes even dancing. We weren't sure if that's what Josh was gunning for or whether he actually wanted to raise the collective knowledge base on Feldenkrais. We hoped he was playing the game and burst into song and dance. Josh quickly joined as did many other folks in the room, both family and friends. I think we made the correct decision. The party was started. We had a few more l'chayims and I went back to Talya's tisch. They were both veiled in tallitot.

Josh and Talya both wore flowing beautiful fabrics which gave them a timeless appearance. Once the donned tallitot and were veiled with them, Josh was escorted out to the gardens where Talya's tisch had been. They were brought to each other and slowly removed the other's veil. they were in no hurry, it like the couple hundred guests were not watching. the scene was a neat mixture. on the one hand it was so new that husbands would be veiled and on the other hand something about the ritual looked so ancient. as their faces became visible their hair let loose and burst free of the tallit. they looked deeply at each other (may have kissed, i don't remember) and we went on the the chuppah.

There were lots of funky liturgical nuances so I'll cover some of my favorites. Early in the ceremony one of the officiants welcomed us to the commonwealth of Massachusetts "where marriage is open to all". The crowd erupted in support of MassEquality. It is so nice to be part of a crowd so concerned with contemporary discrimination even in the midst of such a joyous simcha. Ilana read the ketubah. She had a tough task, the text was so beautiful, it would be easy to over do it. She managed to work the balance well and present it with clarity, depth, and intention. The sheva brachot had some cool tweaks and before we knew it, they were off to yichud.

More later...

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