Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Wedding on the Kibbutz

Israeli Weddings, are different. Today on our Kibbutz we had a wedding; both were born and raised on the kibbutz. This wedding is nothing like any you will experience in America. It begins with dancing and l'ichaims with the bride and groom separately. By tradition the week before a wedding Jews do not let the bride and groom meet or speak till under the Chuppah. (Jewish weddings are conducted under an awning known as a Chuppah). Then everyone files outside to the grass where the Chuppah is erected, and the trees are lit up with lights. The ceremony does not drag on forever like American weddings tend to, and everyone stands except for a few elderly people who are on chairs in the front row. The Wedding was beautiful and livly, and then they had one heck of a pimped out van with ballons and streamers take the bride and groom to their house for their Yichud time. (Jews have the bride and groom spend a short amount of time together alone after the wedding and it is called Yichud, from the hebrew root for sinle/one meaning they are alone)

While the bride and groom spend their time together everyone else heads back to the mess hall and there a lavish meal is served, at this wedding for the teens and young adults they had Asian style tables close to the ground with mattresses to sit on. It was quite nice, as per usual the food is amazing and they had beer on tap, a huge plus. and then the bride and groom return. Here the kibbutz had a special chair for them which sits two and has handles off the sides so people carry them, and the grooms friends carried them in, to the dance hall where every one comes in and dances together, well sort of. Religious jews do not do mixed dancing so men dance with the groom, and women with the bride though the bride does come over to dance with the groom at times. this goes on for quite some time, and people get really into it.

After the dancing subsides people return to finish the meal, and have desert. This takes a while as the bride and groom eat and people sit around and talk a lot. Then everyone says Birkat Hamazon (Grace after meals) and the family puts on a skit for the bride and groom, and all can watch.

One interesting thing about this wedding which is common to many Israeli weddings is the guys in attendance. The groom is an officer is Duv Devan (for info see and many of his friends from the unit were there. This meant there was a small armory worth of M4 Carbines with sick scopes, pimp sticks, flashlights, and all sorts of other gear on them. Before the wedding one fo my freidns saw one of the guys heading to a house with 8 rifles so they would not get in the way of dancing. others kept there weapons on them for the wedding. I would post pictures of the wedding, but i would probably inadvertently out probably a dozen operators. But when one looks at these kids you do not see that American/Hollywood stereotype of a special operators. Most of the guys are 20-21 years old, they do not have bulging muscles everywhere, and they come from all walks of Israeli life, from religious settlers with big knitted kippot, and long curly peyot (side locks) to unreligious Tel Avivian's with jeans and printed tee shirts. This wedding is definitely an experience of a life time, and lucky me there is another one in three weeks. This time the groom’s family is marrying off a daughter. As a side not I am now an official Israeli, I got my Tudat Zehut (Israeli ID card) finally!!

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