July 15, 2024
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July 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We are busy packing for one of our frequent Montreal trips. The fact that we have not been in Montreal for over two months is unusual as we have tried to maintain a pattern of visiting our daughter Naama every three to four weeks. However, the challenge of knee replacement surgery certainly altered most of our plans for the last little while. Another exciting reason for our forthcoming trip is to attend the wedding of Leia Whitman to Adam Karoly. Leia is the daughter of dear friends of ours, Rabbi Michael and Marci Whitman.

We remember when Leia, whose parents moved to Montreal from New Haven where Rabbi Whitman was a rav, slept over at our house while her parents were out of town. Nina knew that if she purchased certain comic books, Leia would be happy. Time flies.

We began to reminisce of all the times we would drive into the New York area to attend semachot of various friends. There were also times when we flew if the distance was too great. One wedding in particular which comes to mind is that of Rabbi Danny and Diane Cohen who now reside in Stamford, Conn. Their charming wedding took place in Charleston, South Carolina, and we still have fond memories of being wined and dined with Southern hospitality.

Recently, we heard a story told of a couple that had become engaged. The chatan was from the New York metropolitan area and his bride was from an out-of-town community. When the parents met for the very first time and discussed when the wedding would take place, the chatan’s mother asked where the wedding would be. The bride’s parents immediately responded that it would, of course, take place in the community that the bride and family lived and where the bride had grown up. The response was instantaneous. “When we receive an invitation to an out-of-town wedding, we immediately throw it into the garbage.” Is this a common occurrence for people who live in the New York metropolitan area? Are we so complacent and accustomed to everything that takes place within our sheltered communities that we do not “bother ourselves” to go out of the way for another simcha that is not convenient? Perhaps one of the problems is that people in the Modern Orthodox New York world get invited to so many semachot that the aura of going to something, which for another family is very special, has lost its sparkle. When five to six hundred of a family’s nearest and dearest are invited to each local simcha, something has got to lose its pizzazz.

We remember driving to the New York area to attend the wedding of a friend’s son. Fortunately, in this case, we both had a cell phone. By the time we each went to sit at our table, the men and women separated by a mechitzah, we found that we were the only ones left at our tables. Everyone else who had RSVP’d that they would attend this simcha left as soon as the chuppah was over. Neither of us had a tablemate. We eventually also left. We intentionally drove over 400 miles to share in the simcha of old and dear friends. We were happy for the baalei simcha and wanted to show them our support. Their nearest and dearest “paid their dues” and left. We now understand why the smorgasbord is so important at weddings in this area.

When we had the privilege of preparing weddings for three of our daughters, the excitement was greatest when we received a return card from an out-of-town relative or friend. It was their presence that really made the simcha special. The knowledge that they had taken the time, cost and effort to attend one of our weddings was overwhelmingly heartwarming. There is nothing like an old friend who is able to share many fond memories of the past together with you. This, in our family, was what really made our simchos special. Of course, as some of you may have experienced, while attending a wedding outside of this area the guests are well taken care of for their entire stay. It is not as if they “just show up” for a few hours. There are pre-wedding celebrations, Shabbat meals together, touring arranged and every type of accommodation made to ensure the fact that appreciation is conveyed in the most respectful manner.

Our suggestion would be that the next time one receives an invitation to a wedding that is not easily drivable, to give it some serious thought. Think of the happiness that you will bestow upon the baalei simcha by responding in the affirmative. There is a world outside of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

There is nothing more beautiful than making a simcha with the knowledge that those who have chosen to attend have done so because they, too, relish the memories shared from the past, and are considered close friends that happy and sad times can be shared with no matter what. Their arrival ensures the fact that what is important at a wedding is not the numbers of people present as much as the quality of the relationships that those present have shared with the baalei simcha.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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