Tuesday, January 03, 2006

what every girl dreams of

we got married!

although i have been only a rather casual blogger of late, on the merit of A the wedding received more than a passing mention onthe hip jewish website jewschool as well as wonderful online dedication by one of his closest friends who couldnt be with us.

(Note: i am totally grateful to have the event immortalised in the blogosphere by the former -- despite the total "out-ing of our true identities -- but i do feel the need to point out that the author's claim to have inspired my blog debut is a slight rewrite of history! his workshop did lead me to change my comments to haloscan but i guess as a media man that just wasnt sexy enough...)

to try and describe the day would be impossible but i would like to share one small part with you.

while some girls dream for years about their wedding dress imagining every detail of its style and feel, for as long as i can remember i have been doing the same...for my speech! i always knew that i'd speak at my wedding but the question was always how to balance the humour and the serious stuff, the jewish with the romance, the retrospective with the now.

so after years of planning in my head, a good few months of banging away at the keyboard and one about-as-perfect-as-it-gets execution, here it is....
my wedding speech

The advantage about being a mature bride is that by the time you get to your wedding day you do know some ultimate truths.

  • For example I know that while I may actually have a chance of fitting into – and thus wearing – this wedding dress again -- it just won’t happen.
  • I also know that the chances of me making it through this speech with a dry eye is about as likely as my mother saying “you should have eloped.” Thus contrary to some people’s expectations I am not doing this off the cuff/ off script or off anything apart from this piece of paper.
  • And finally I know a good person when I meet one. And I met one.

Speaking tonight is tricky because I cannot rely on my regular topics: Making fun of Americans, Kvetching about parental pressures and Sharing the angst of being single in Jerusalem.

My comedy routine is testimony to how much my life has changed – I am married, directly related to an American and our parents made this night possible with minimal demands.

So for those of you who are familiar with my comedy you'll know that there’s only one befitting thing to do before officially burying six years of material. And that’s to say: Mum – Thanks for asking – my social life is great!


A and I would like to thank our family and friends. Not just for what you’ve done for us in the lead up to the wedding in the last six months but for what you’ve done in the lead up to this moment in say the last thirty years or so.

To Our Family
In Kenton – that almost mythical place in London where I grew up – there was a verse from Proverbs that the community would sing in shul to the bar mitzvah boy after the Rabbi’s drash.

Shema bni musar avicha v’al titosh torat imecha
Listen to the instruction of your father and do not forsake the Torah of your mother

Although never a barmitzva boy myself, this message was clearly drummed home for me. Do not forget that parents are your primary source of direction and guidance in life. Their advice is invaluable, their care and attention irreplaceable.

Both A and I owe much to our parents in that respect. Your love, beliefs and efforts have helped shape us to be the people we are today. You’ve taught us your Torah and made us proud Jews.

Mum and Dad – you always put your children first. When I think of all the holidays abroad you could have had but no our education and Jewish social life were far more important in your eyes. You also taught us what it was to be an active part of a community – how to give of myself in that capacity – and how to receive in return.

R., L. – you made a life changing move to ensure that your children would have the freedom to be Jewish and have the best opportunities in life. Your sacrifice of starting again and being a real immigrant in a new country not only ensured their material wellbeing but transmitted a strong sense of identity and meaning.

To our grandparents who are no longer here – but showed us the way either in person or through family folklore– you are here, you’re in our thoughts, our personalities, our memories and our hearts.

To our extended family – our sisters, brothers in law, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts and cousins – the fact that you’ve traveled from far and wide to be with us – Los Angeles, Liverpool, London, Cape Town, Petach Tikva and in fact all over Israel – is typical of your ongoing presence and influence in our lives.

It is easy to go through life seeing the small picture - the arguments and quibbles - but looking back we can see how really very fortunate we are. Thank you.

And to Our Friends
Pirkei Avot teaches us Kane L’cha Chaver
-- Acquire yourself a friend. At first glance this reads like a nightmare commercial from a consumer world gone awry however the common interpretation to this verse is far from it. Our rabbis merely recommend that one finds oneself a friend – a chavruta – with whom to face life’s adventures, with whom to fathom life’s mysteries head on, with whom to grow.

Both A and I have had the fortune to acquire many such friends. Friends who aren’t just in our lives but make our lives.

Friends who have shared our worries, quandaries, delights and passions. You are them.
Friends who have advised us, listened to us, discussed with and rejoiced with us. You are them.
Friends who have hosted us, fed us, nurtured us, taught us. You are them

You are too many to name but today we especially want to thank
- Friends who through them A and I met in the most natural non-Jdate kind of environment. You know who you are and you have a permanent invite to my parents home.
- Friends who have traveled from Toronto, New York and London – who’ve left fiancées and families behind - just to be with us today.
- Friends who have seen us through every detail of this occasion – from listening to hours (and hours) of dating dilemmas to choosing suits and invitation designs to doing so many things that i couldnt even have imagined when i wrote this speech to singing beautifully at the chupa and for leading it so well.

But our favorite thing about you – our family and friends – is how you’ve both become each other.

Our friends you are our family – you’re there for us on a daily basis doling out support , advice, chocolate – whatever’s needed. For the many of you who are already doing the married with kids bit you make us grateful that we have such incredible role models as we start our journey.

And our family you are our friends (or else we really wouldn’t have invited you!). And my parents could give a master class in how to make lifelong friends. There are too many people in this room who have known me all my life. I continue to confuse people when I speak of at least ten different aunties when my parents have only two siblings between them.

And now to you A.

You’re both
You’re my best friend
You’re my closest family.

Finding you has been a humbling process – one for which I thank G-d daily.
You’ve changed my life – you inspire me, reassure me, challenge me and make me a better person. Even more importantly you make me laugh.

As the verse that you chose from Eshet Chayil for our invitation says – Oz v’hadar levusha v’ tischak lyom acharon. I certainly look forward to laughing and playing with you for the rest of my days– we can discuss the strong and glorious clothes later on.

A, I know that one of the challenges of meeting me – apart from my accent, my work schedule and my clear lack of interest in discussing who will be this year’s MVP – has been meeting the many people in my life. You’ve shared with me that this can be overwhelming but I guess I brush it off because you seem to handle it so well.

I wonder, if you sometimes wonder, how exactly you fit in with all these other people around. Well, I’ve relied on our sages to elucidate things until this point but I hope you’ll forgive me if now I turn to the words of Lennon and McCartney to explain this koshi.

Though I know I’ll never lose affection, For people and things that went before. I know I’ll often stop and think about them. In my life I love you more.

To our friends and family – L’Chaim and lets dance!