July 23, 2024
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July 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Flowers and Chuppahs and Singers, Oh My!

Over the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of attending many weddings. No two were the same; in fact, all of them were very different. Food was good at some; at some, not at all. No two main courses were repeated. Almost all had alcohol, some served soda in the actual bottle (and it was just as good as if it had come in a fancy carafe or out of a nozzle). There were menus at a couple and at the others, you had to figure out which animal the protein came from. Oh gee, now I know why I have a weight problem, I have only spoken of the food. Sad thing is, I didn’t even realize it until I was reading it over! Back to the topic.

Magnificent flowers, extravagant chuppahs; simple flowers, simple chuppahs—just as beautiful because a flower is a flower. There were customs I had never seen before. At one “yeki” wedding, the bride and groom stood underneath a tallis. Does the bride worry about messing up her hair? But the symbolism is so beautiful—it’s just the two of you now, kids, you stand together, united as husband and wife. In the Sephardic ceremony we attended, the groom makes a blessing on the tallis before he covers himself and his new bride. (I hope the “yeki” groom didn’t make the same brachia and I missed it.) I still remember at my wedding, husband #1’s rabbi informed us at the pre-wedding ceremony that he would be putting some ashes on his head. Husband #1 didn’t have hair then either so I asked the rabbi, quite respectfully because I wasn’t as cynical then, if he could just do a smidgen of ashes because of the whole bald thing and he was quite accommodating. Apparently being the bride pulls some weight…especially if you have a lot of weight to pull. Sorry, the joke was right there, I just had to go with it.

The smell of hope is in the air. There is nothing like watching the groom’s face when the bride starts walking down the aisle. So much love—where does it all go? Just kidding. My nephew got married a few weeks ago, and it was really special. You see, for those of you who don’t know husband #1, his sister married the boy next door. Well, if you are getting technical, it was the boy across the street. They fell in love when they were kids, weathered a few storms and then got married. Twenty-five years later, their son married the daughter of another neighbor on the block. That’s right, three sets of grandparents lived on the same street in good old Monsey. How is that for a love story? And the wedding was filled with old-time Monsey people and their married kids. It was pretty cool and nostalgic for those folks. For those of us not from Monsey, we just looked on in amazement (and were still grateful not be from Monsey).

As for all of the brides and grooms…the age ranges were vast. From barely 20 to a senior-citizen-discount-eligible 25 (gasp!). I always find it amazing that you are allowed to get married before you can legally drink the wine served to you under the chuppah, or rent a car. Or have a job. We were once in the car with young newlyweds who lived in the “Heights” and they were both still in school. They were complaining that they had no one to wake them up for class in the morning. I told them that comment was turning into a column. And since I am so old that I can’t remember who the couple was, it’s all good. Ya, if you need your mommy to wake you up in the morning when you have the ability to become a someone else’s mommy, it’s time to buy an alarm clock!

I just want to point out the new rage in wedding singers, though it probably isn’t new, I am just starting to pay attention…because the singers make the weddings. I am not even a fan of Jewish music and these guys make me cry… Jonathan Rimberg—possibly the original wedding singer; that Shlagbaum dude from our area; Mordechai Shapiro, originally from Monsey, now in Queens, who let me take a selfie with him to impress my sons…their voices really bring out the true beauty of the simcha. May all of these couples and all of the ones to come be blessed with good health, love and laughter.

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

Banji Ganchrow holds the record for attending the most weddings at Marina Del Ray in 1994. She is happy to report that all of those couples are still married.

 

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