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When your child gets married, even at the age of 38, or perhaps especially at the age of 38, it is a cause for celebration. At last the poor, lost soul has found his/her life-partner, you think, and now everything will fall into place and life will be plain sailing from now on. Let’s hope so, but let’s also be prepared for the occasional bump in the road ahead.

But serious thoughts aside, the wedding of Eitan and Daniella a few days ago was a truly joyous occasion, made even more so by the special character of the ceremony and the principal actors. A great deal of thought had obviously gone in to the preparation of the event, the choice of venue and menu, the egalitarian marriage contract (Ketuba), which had been prepared by Eitan and Daniella themselves, and the vows they made to one another as they stood beneath the wedding canopy (Chuppa). I must admit that the last aspect took me completely by surprise, and I was amazed at the couple’s courage and honesty in opening up their innermost thoughts in public to one another and the assembled audience.

And to top it all, another surprise. At one point in the ceremony the (orthodox) rabbi took up his guitar and began singing Leonard Cohen’s song, ‘Dance me to the End of Love,’ and concluded the various blessings with a rousing chorus of Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah.’ We all did our best to join in, though later confessed to one another that Leonard Cohen wasn’t our very favourite artist. Still, never mind. It all added to the very laid-back and special atmosphere.

Photo by Gili Bar-Hillel Semo

The high point, though, came once the ceremony was over. Instead of the usual general round of kisses and congratulations, imagine our astonishment when, as instructed by the bride and groom, the DJ straightaway launched into a raucous rendering of Tim Minchin’s song ‘The Good Book,’ sung to a square-dance rhythm and attacking formal religion of all kinds, and the bible in particular. I had never heard of that particular artist before, but people of my generation will understand what I mean when I say that he is something akin to Tom Lehrer. Bride and groom bounded down from the stage onto the grass and began a rollicking dance to the music, quickly joined by their friends. It was indeed a sight to see!

The rest of the wedding proceeded in a more decorous fashion. Eating, drinking and making merry was the order of the day, or evening, rather, and everyone’s pleasure was augmented by the fact that the DJ played music that everyone could enjoy but did not exceed a reasonable level of decibels, as is usually the case at weddings in Israel. The young folk danced, the older ones chatted, and everyone appeared to be having a good time, even those ladies who, like me, were unused to wearing high-heeled shoes and standing for hours. Yes, my feet were killing me by the end of the evening, but the pain was as nothing compared with my enjoyment of the event. It gave me tremendous pleasure to see everyone, friends and family, old and young, from far and near, enjoying themselves and sharing in our joy.

It was certainly a wedding unlike any other, and one that everyone who was there will remember for a very long time. As one friend put it, ‘it was an enchanted evening.’

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