The “kosher-style” wedding last Saturday of my oldest son, Aaron, and his wife, Freya, provided me with a crash course in Hebrew language and Jewish customs. The chuppah (canopy) is a beautiful piece of work that was an integral part of the rite and which will remain a part of their lives. The reading and signing of the ketubah (marriage agreement) made one think and pray about marital commitment, and the reading of seven blessings by friends and family members was moving.
But my favorite part of the ceremony was the shehecheyanu (blessing) given by those in attendance. Spoken first in Hebrew and then in English, it states, “Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.” Prayed from the heart and with enthusiasm, it was simple but powerful.
Never was a blending of cultures and traditions more evident than at the reception when the horah and the polka were danced successively with no break. The music — “Hava Nagila” and the “Beer Barrel Polka” — was provided by a Motown cover band. A great pre-dinner workout and a wonderful way for the Olszewski-Moskowitz families and friends to continue celebrating with the bride and groom.
May the marriage of Aaron and Freya be filled with the joy of that day and exist, as we used to say in our tradition, secula seculorum — forever and ever!