I’m continuing these escapade reports actually from the United States, as I have some down time in my room at USY International Convention. We’ll see if I get around to ever talking about that…
So the week of December 6-10:
*Sunday we had a field trip to Tel Aviv for a program called Agents of Change through the Yeshiva. We met with different people who have effected social change in Israel, and then we did Clementine picking in Rechovot for Table to Table. As a general principle, I find these things to be very important. This particular program, however, didn’t necessarily do it for me. Part of it may have been my own fault for not being in the mentality, but I also felt like I had already done this in similar capacities and didn’t feel like the overall message was new for me. The goal of the program was to make us feel empowered to make change in our world, and this program gave me very little new. I ended up not going to the seminar on Tuesday and instead did a lot of shopping.
*Tuesday night we made chanukiyot and had a session on Hilkhot Channukah. It was very nice and fun – just that I trust other people’s work of art better than mine when it comes to practical things. ;) It ended up functioning well, after one mess-up.
Thursday night I attended my first wedding that I can remember – it was that of one of my yeshiva teachers, Reb Shlomo. He invited my biblical grammar class, so I was down for the experience of an Israeli wedding, especially that of a member of a close knit community like the yeshiva. The venue was Ma’ale HaChamisha, just outside of Jerusalem. Busing was provided from the Kings Hotel, adjacent to Beit Nativ.
We got to the wedding fairly early, it seemed. The guys from the yeshiva there decided to go to the chatan’s tisch, and there we first saw our teacher completely clean-shaven. The tisch featured some singing (accompanied by a violinist) and some Divrei Torah. One that jumped out to me was given by another teacher of mine, Rabbi Joel, in which he spoke of marriage in context of Parashat Vayeshev, in which Jacob’s sons are unable to speak to Joseph, and he blessed Reb Shlomo with a marriage of lots of fighting but with love that comes as a result, or something to that extent. After some singing and words of Torah, we davened Ma’ariv, and then accompanied Reb Shlomo to the wedding venue.
Then came the chuppah. I stood for most of it, since there weren’t quite enough seats for everyone (there were seats at the dinner tables, but I stood with a couple of people). I can’t necessarily remember the particulars of what happened when, so I won’t go into much detail about the normal parts of the ceremony. As the groom and bride circled each other, my voice teacher Ashira sang Tov L’hodot on her harp, which I believe she was just picking up, so it was very good. Reb Shmuel, our Rosh Yeshiva, officiated. It was hard to hear a lot of what he said because the room had an echo, plus the Hebrew… the Sheva B’rachot were recited, some by prominent Conservative rabbis in Israel, and then the bride recited the first verse and a half of “Im Eshkachech,” the groom recited the verse and a half, the glass was broken, and the festivities began.
I sat with people from Yeshiva at the meal. One of my teachers, British, sat next to me on one side, and a British student sat next to me on the other side – love the Brits. The food was fantastic. The dancing was highly intense – there is a mitzvah found in the Talmud to be “mesameach” (gladden) the bride and groom and that was taken very seriously. The yeshiva faculty was at the forefront of the dancing, and it was special to see them so enthusiastic about the simcha.
I think that’s all for me to say about this… next up is Shabbat in Yerucham!