I grew up in a religiously, culturally and gastronomically Jewish home in Willingboro, NJ which is a suburb of Philadelphia. Our family went to synagogue weekly, practiced holiday rituals, lit the candles on Friday night, but kept kosher only when my paternal grandmother lived with us. I attended Hebrew school until I was 16. […]
This weekend, I had the ultimate joy of officiating at the wedding of a young cousin as he married the love of his life whom he had met 9 years earlier in the New Jersey shore town of Wildwood. Introduced by a friend who has since passed into Spirit, they sensed that there was kismet that turned into kisses. Nearly a decade later, they were standing under the Huppah against a backdrop of blue sky and bay water and rushes that waved in the wind. Eric and Tara are simply adorable. Classically beautiful (good genes on both sides of the family, apparently) with great big hearts that shine outwardly as well. Clearly they have many good friends since some who were among their 26 attendants had decided to forgo their college graduation ceremonies to stand with them. During the lively reception, the traditional Pomp and Circumstance was played as each of them was called by name to loud applause.
I was filled with mixed emotion throughout the two days during which family and friends gathered to honor love. As I sat at the table at the rehearsal dinner, I found myself staring misty eyed at my cousins Rick, Steve and Teddy who were such a huge part of my childhood. We are the second generation American born of immigrant Jewish heritage. We told this story countless times at the reception: Our grandmothers were sisters and part of a clan of 13 children. Ironically, my cousin Rick’s wife Melissa grew up in the same town as I did; Willingboro, NJ, but she and I had not met until after they did and Rick is now teaching Special Ed in the same Jr. High School that I attended in the 70’s. Cosmic coincidence at play! The somewhat sad aspect was that Eric’s grandfather Ron and grandmother Gladys (my parents’ generation cousins) were not physically present to witness this epic pairing, although I am certain that they were watching over the proceedings along with other members of The Cousins’ Club that included my parents. In the lobby of the restaurant, was a table with gorgeous images of Tara and Eric’s lineage. I am wondering if they had something to do with the crystalline blue skies from which no anticipated rain fell.
The lively reception had the multi-ethnic crowd that included the Irish Catholic Flynn family dancing to Hava Nagila with the European Jewish Sable family as Tara and Eric were lifted aloft on chairs by their friends.
I stood before them in awe of what they created in their young lives and wished for them that they feel the way they expressed in their exquisite vows that neither had heard or read prior to the ceremony. When that kind of deep devotion exists in the world, there is indeed hope for the future and the legacy of love continues.
Photo Credit: Marie Rita