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Chavi Feldman

Priorities

There are no adequate words to describe what these last 13 days have been like. Our country is united in their pain, their sadness; united also in their hope and prayers. Every one of us who is privileged to live in this miraculous country is wondering how it was possible that we were celebrating our Sukkot holiday just a short time ago — because all we can think of now is the loss, the fear, the sadness. Gone is the joy and worrying about the mundane.

I find myself in an awkward place. Before this happened we were a few days away from sending out wedding invitations for our daughter’s wedding. We had also recently married off our son, so we had wedding on the brain. It’s an exciting time — anyone who has ever married off their children will agree with this.

The hall was chosen and we recently went to a tasting to pick out the dinner menu. We sat with our future son-in-law’s lovely parents and we debated on which first courses we liked and which salads were the best. Then there was the color of the napkins. Tablecloths, yes or no? We were 2 fittings into the perfect wedding gown. It’s made with the most exquisite floral lace with flutter sleeves, and my daughter looks like a bonafide princess in it – and at the last fitting we agonized over the neckline: sharp vee, square, or sweetheart. We all (me, the bride and the designer) had differences of opinion and each option had its pros and cons as we debated which would look best. (We went with sweetheart.) And all week long I was getting WhatsApps from my daughter while she was on her lunch break at work of various samples of the invitation. Sage green with gold accents – more leaves or less? Did I like that font or the other one. Was the wording ok, or should we change it? Should we make an English one for our out of town family, or just send our the Hebrew one for everyone? Just a few days ago, she sent me photos of the groom in a gorgeous suit: did I like the black bow tie or the burgundy one better?

These are the decisions that we were bogged down with just a week and a half ago.

Now, it doesn’t look like we will be having the wedding that we all had hoped and planned for. This week, while funerals were happening all over the country and bodies were still – and are still – being identified, and the numbers of the kidnapped keeps rising, we realized that as the wedding date gets closer with each passing day, we had to make some difficult decisions.

My daughter wanted to push it off. She wanted her special day not to be in the middle of such sadness. She wanted to wait until her fiance was finished fighting and was home safe and sound. My husband and I were neutral — this was her wedding and we would support any decision she made. So she spoke to her fiance and told him her feelings. Then just a few hours later, she walked into the kitchen and said excitedly, “So we’re getting married on the 19th! That’s when we were supposed to get married and that’s when we’re getting married. No matter what.”

Her fiance didn’t want to wait.

So we’re making a wedding.

Where? Most probably at his base where he’s stationed with his army unit in the south, close to the border.

So while the news was on, keeping us informed on all updates of the war, we were simultaneously browsing an online shop to find a simple white dress. She will still wear her wedding gown, but at some later date when the war is over, when we are able to throw a party for all of our friends – because a wedding deserves to be celebrated with family and loved ones – but for now she needed a dress. She’s going to borrow a veil, and maybe wear sneakers.

Dinner menu? Maybe I’ll bring a tray of cookies for his friends in his unit.

DJ? I’m hoping the boys will break into song and dance.

Invitation? None. His parents will be there, and so will we.

Her fiance’s suit will remain hanging in his closet, because he will most likely stand under his chuppah in his army uniform.

And you know what? We’re starting to get excited. This wedding will be different than her brother’s, but not less exciting or less beautiful or less special. In a way, it will be more meaningful, and definitely more emotional.

Because in the end, all of those weddings decisions are like the icing on the cake. But it’s not the cake.

The important thing right now is that they love each other and do not want to push off their future. They want to start it now, even amid the pain and chaos.

And while Hamas only thinks of death and destruction, of murder and annihilation, we think of the future: of love and weddings and family. (And grandchildren…)

It’s just another way we’re fighting this war.

We’re still hopeful that we will be able to have the wedding as originally planned, with her wedding dress, his suit, and in a beautiful hall with delicious food, and most importantly, with all our friends and family. But like the military here says, “anachnu muchanim lechol tarchish” – we’re ready for any scenario.

About the Author
Chavi Feldman has a degree in graphic design and advertising and works primarily as a music teacher. She has lived in Israel for more than two decades.
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