We are now in the “nearly there” stage. The wedding is planned for four weeks from this day. July 29, with God’s help. And, as to be expected, we are incredibly excited. Our beautiful amazing first granddaughter will soon approach the chuppah, to be joined to her longtime and first love.
This is about me as much as about her. How did I so quickly become the grandmother of the bride? How did my daughter so quickly become the mother of the bride? How indeed!
In 1960, it was I who was the bride. I remember distinctly the shopping for a venue, the shopping for a dress, the interviews with photographers and florists and bands. Not much has really changed, except for the prices. Our wedding in Newark was led up to by Ketubah signing and lots of food. Celebrated with a breaking of the glass. And cheered on by a crowd yelling “mazal tov.” And then the thrilling joyful dancing followed by the festive meal. My parents, my aunts and uncles were in their finery. Each of them is no longer available. Such is the calendar of humans. Here yesterday. Gone today. Only photos capture their joy, as well as our own.
In short order, our first daughter’s wedding was followed by this bride’s mother’s wedding in 1990. The soon-to-be-mother-of-the-bride was danced to the chuppah in Jerusalem. She had met her bashert at the Hebrew University where he had become her best friend, until some chemical reaction changed the relationship and the best friends became engaged. They are still best friends, three adult kids later. That wedding was a joyous simcha, similar to my own, but there were no soldiers in fatigues or guests in jeans at my wedding. And as much as we all tend to focus on what we will wear to a big event, it didn’t make one wit of difference that the attire was wildly eclectic. The wedding was spiritual and spirited, uniforms and all. And the wedding venue was so satisfactory that the three offspring became b’nai mitzvah at the very same place.
This young couple met at Camp Ramah in Nyack NY where they were both madrichim, counselors. There are some places that are intrinsically appropriate for Jewish boy meets Jewish girl. Such is the case at Nyack where the campers go home every afternoon, providing the staff with much time for learning, planning their next day schedules, and socializing with their peers. Both bride and groom were from Manhattan and each lived on the perimeter of Central Park, she on the West Side and he on the East. They attended different day schools and it took Ramah to bring them together. Viva Machane Ramah!
Four years of college and the expected engagement. As each of our offspring marries I thrill to the growth of our family. Now we will add and happily welcome another family to the growing group of machetanim in our mishpacha.
It seems like yesterday that our granddaughter flew with us to Herzliya, minus her parents. We stopped in Prague along the way where she was a mature nearly five year old first time visitor. And a few days later, on arrival in Israel, she began a kaytana, a summer day camp for neighborhood Israeli kids; conducted entirely in Hebrew of course. Our girl knew no Hebrew at all! And if that wasn’t daunting enough my mother, her really great great-grandmother, began, and ended the process of dying, completing the process on our girl’s fifth birthday. Our birthday celebration ended abruptly with the call from the hospital in Kfar Saba. And so this five year old attended a funeral and was home for the duration of the shiva. Throughout she was a stoic, never complaining about that less than funfilled week. Our days were a daze but our granddaughter was a constant joy. She even helped to sustain my father during his grievous loss. Such is the circle of life.
Our kallah is a warm and sensitive person, immensely talented, with abiding commitments to her passions. She runs marathons, studies hard, works hard, practices kindness and derech eretz and is deeply devoted to her betrothed. As is he to her! May their lives together be blessed, and may their joy echo throughout Am Yisrael. We, now ancient grandparents, are happily anticipating this wonderful simcha.