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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The blogger wore white

Last night Zahava and I had the privilege of attending the wedding of Noa (Jerusalem Revealed) and Bryan.  Some of you may remember that I wrote about their heroic idea of arranging to have a bone marrow registration drive as part of their wedding reception. 

Well, last night was the big night!

Set on a hilltop with a magnificent view of Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the wedding venue could not possible have been more beautiful.  Unusual for us, we arrived exactly at the time listed on the invitation. 

There's an old saying here in Israel, "The only problem with arriving on time to an affair is that there's nobody there to appreciate it!"  OK, that might be a small exaggeration in this case, but we were definitely among the first to arrive.  Luckily there were plenty of yummy hors d'ouvres and an open bar to keep the early birds from wasting away.  :-)

The ceremony was held outdoors at dusk with the glowing panorama of Jerusalem's old city as the backdrop.  The weather was perfect, and the couple and their attendants were impeccably turned out.  There was even a 'flower dog' (Noa's little dog Sharona), who walked proudly down the aisle with one of the flower girls. 

[Stay tuned for a post in the not-too-distant future in which I reveal that this is not the first time I have witnessed a dog at a Jewish wedding ceremony.]

For those of you who might not be familiar with the specifics of the Jewish wedding ceremony, it is worth pointing out that there is more than just the Rabbi officiating.  There are several official witnesses... groomsmen to hold the poles of the canopy (or perhaps to keep the groom from running away)... as well as many distinguished Rabbis and family members to read the legal/halachic documents aloud and pronounce the various blessings. 

In short, a traditional Jewish wedding is indeed a group effort.

There is also usually someone who makes announcements throughout the ceremony, calling up the various honorees and dignitaries to perform their specific roles.  One of Bryan's close friends peformed admirably as Master of Ceremonies, calling up Rabbis, community leaders and family members.... each person along with his title and role.

When it came time for the penultimate blessing, the MC announced to the assembled guests, "For the sixth blessing the bride and groom would like to honor Mr. David Bogner, the face behind the blog treppenwitz".  Yes, after all the distinguished Rabbis and family members... I was called to the chupah to help complete the marriage ceremony.  Although Noa and I have become quite friendly since meeting last year... I assume the honor she and Bryan extended to me was in large part a way to thank my wife for the late night talks she and Noa had at our house.  Zahava thinks the world of Noa and they bonded over the Shabbats that Noa spent with us.

As I walked up to stand in front of the couple under the chupah, I could hear the assembled crowd murmuring "Who's that?... what's a blog?... what's a treppenwitz?", to one another.  I just smiled at Noa and Bryan and said quielty, "I am sooo blogging about this tomorrow!", before reciting my blessing.

It turns out that there were more than a few people there who knew perfectly well what a blog is.   

Seated behind us at the ceremony was the charming author of Lapis Dreams, who introduced herself when I returned to my seat.  At dinner Zahava and I were seated at the blogger table with Chayei Sara (and her very flattering new short hairdo), Gil Ben Mori and his lovely wife, as well as 'Purple Parrot', the engaging author of Slighly Mad.  I heard rumors that there were a few more of our ilk in attendance, but I was too busy eating, drinking and being merry to notice if anyone was trying to send me the secret blogger signal.

As to the bone marrow registration, the phlebotomists were every bit as adept as advertised.  When it came time for me to submit my paperwork and give my tablespoon-sized sample of blood, I didn't even realize it had happened until I was told to hold a cotton ball on the place where the needle had gone just come out.  I didn't get the exact count, but there seemed to have been a long line of people throughout the first part of the wedding reception that were waiting to participate in the registration drive.

I'm still blown away by the simple beauty of this idea!  I hope more people follow their example.

As we were leaving the wedding, we enjoyed one last stroll along the promenade in the cool Jerusalem breeze.  It was truly a beautiful wedding, and a magnificent reception celebrating the union of two wonderful people.  In typical Noa and Bryan fashion, every aspect of the affair was designed to make the guests feel both welcome and involved... and the added boost of having the opportunity to do a good deed ensured a truly special glow at the end of the evening.

Bryan and Noa... may you be worthy to watch your children's children celebrate life's bounty the way your parents and grandparents celebrated with you last night.

Mazal Tov!

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Posted by David Bogner on July 20, 2005 | Permalink

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Congrats to Noa, our newly married blogger in Jerusalem, who tied the knot with her intended, Bryan last week. A full descriptive report of the wedding on Treppenwitz by David, a participant in the festivities. He called his entry, "The... [Read More]

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Comments

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> At dinner Zahava and I were seated with Gil Ben Mori and his lovely wife,
> Chayei Sara as well as the engaging author of Purple Parrot.

You might want to edit the above. Read it back to yourself and you'll see that it sounds very much like Gili's wife is Chayei Sarah.

(And then you can delete this comment.)

Posted by: The Hedyot | Jul 20, 2005 11:44:25 AM

The Hedyot... Your comment and my correction must have crossed in the ether. I noticed it right away when the entry published. Thanks.

Posted by: David | Jul 20, 2005 11:50:19 AM

Sounds like it was a wonderful affair. Was it on the Tayelet? My brother got married there as well. If I understand correctly, the former mayor Olmert made it very inexpensive to use the location (that doesn't include the catering) to encourage people to get married there.

The view is certainly great. When someone asked what direction to pray in - he got a lot of laughs.

And if we're into fixing errors - I'm guessing they didn't have a "weeding reception"...(although according to Google, at least 170 other people have made the same mistake)

Posted by: Dave | Jul 20, 2005 12:22:34 PM

Dave... Yes, that's where it was (Mool HaHar). Fantastic location! Thanks for the proof-reading help. I was a bit woozy when I wrote this entry. :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 20, 2005 1:06:50 PM

Wonderful, Mazal Tov! Bryan and Noa. I missed something though….did Bryan step on a glass bottle? I see this a lot in Jewish weddings on TV (the closest I’ve been to one..), what does the act represent?

Posted by: kakarizz | Jul 20, 2005 2:46:54 PM

Mazel Tov to all, it sounds like it was an amazing affair.
I can't wait to walk along that Tayelet in a months time!

Posted by: Karl | Jul 20, 2005 3:29:15 PM

Sounds like a beautiful wedding and so nice that you were honored with a bracha! I truly love the bone marrow drive idea - what a special mitzvah to add to such a joyous occasion. (BTW, David, I am enjoying my coffee ice cubes in my ice coffee - thanks for the super idea!)

Posted by: Essie | Jul 20, 2005 4:25:32 PM

Picture this: "...I now pronounce you man and BLOGGER! You may now kiss...the keyboard."

Posted by: Pearl | Jul 20, 2005 4:34:54 PM

That sounds like a very nice affair.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 20, 2005 4:45:34 PM

Kakarizz,

Bryan almost certainly would have stepped on a glass (not a glass bottle). The breaking of a glass at a Jewish wedding signifies that even at our most joyous times, we remember the destruction of Jewish life which caused our people to live in exile for 2000 years, and we hope for all our people's swift return to their home.
These days, it is customary for some couples to smash the glass together, as a sign that women also have the mental ability to remember.

Posted by: AnonyMouse | Jul 20, 2005 5:33:52 PM

Wonderful! Mazel tov to the happy couple, and so glad you were honored at the ceremony & enjoyed yourself thereafter.

Posted by: AmyS | Jul 20, 2005 5:41:25 PM

Lovely! This is why I like blogs and not traditional media- blogs tell you about good news!

Posted by: Alice (in Texas) | Jul 20, 2005 6:08:55 PM

Sounds simply fabulous. What a wonderful and selfless idea to do a bone marrow registration.

And how honored you must have felt to get to deliver one of the shiva brachot! Will you post pictures?

Posted by: Stacey | Jul 20, 2005 7:19:57 PM

Mazel Tov. What a very nice honor for you and for your wife.
What pray-tell is the secret blogger signal?

Posted by: riva | Jul 20, 2005 8:49:35 PM

And now, to cut the cake, the bride's 2nd cousin whose most recent post about Gaza disengagement had 42 comments and 5 trackbacks. Give him a big hand!

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jul 20, 2005 10:21:59 PM

Thanks for the compliment about my haircut. :-)

It was so nice to see you guys!

Posted by: Sarah | Jul 20, 2005 10:28:47 PM

What pray-tell is the secret blogger signal?

That varies from party to party. At some shindigs you go around saying trackback and anyone who applies the appropriate countersign is eligible to receive the secret handshake.

At others it is more obvious such as wearing a button. Some oft the ones that I have seen include, "I'd rather blog than snog," "Blogger is my copilot," and the tired but well worn "Please don't post about my party."

Posted by: Jack | Jul 20, 2005 11:32:16 PM

Kakarizz... I was about to answer but I see someone beat me to it! The only thing I would add is that I have never seen a bride help break the glass. I'm sure it happens... I just haven't seen it. Also, in Jerusalem there is a tradition to break the glass in the middle of the ceremony rather than at the end.

Karl... I never get tired of the view.

Essie... I'm so glad to hear you are enjoying the iced coffee tip. Feel free to pass it along.

Pearl... Very cute! Actually, there were only a few of us bloggers/journalers there amongst a fairly large crowd. I really think the overwhelming majority of people there probably didn't know what a blog is!

Jack... One of the most beautiful I've ever attended (and as a professional musician I've attended thousands).

Anonymouse... Thanks for stepping up with the answer. Zahava and I were having dinner in Jerusalem with a friend so I wasn't able to respond in a timely manner. :-)

AmyS... Like I said, not only did we both enjoy ourselves immensely, but I feel like the honor was extended to both of us.

Alice in Texas... Even here at treppenwitz the news isn't always good. But I would never miss an opportunity to pass on something wonderful like this.

Stacey... I thought about bring along the camera, but I know that Noa and most of the bloggers that would be attending are all a bit camera-shy. Sorry.

Riva... I was actually being a bit ironic. However, if I were to pick a signal it would probably be the index finger on the nose like in the movie 'The Sting'. :-)

Doctor Bean... At least none of us brought laptops to the wedding in order to blog about it in real time (I can think of a few people who probably would have!).

Sarah... The pleasure was all ours.

Jack... I see you're off the tang again... Calling Doctor Bean... Doctor Bean... STAT! :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 21, 2005 12:11:29 AM

I see you're off the tang again

It is a tangless job.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 21, 2005 1:50:50 AM

Ahh the old "Bracha Surprise"... What goes round comes round...Even if it takes fourteen or so years. :-) Glad you enjoyed the wedding.... In my experience the outdoor Israeli weddings are tons more fun than the Ballroom weddings we used to play at (cap intended)..

Posted by: shmiel | Jul 21, 2005 1:54:33 AM

It is a tangless job.

Jack: Very punny! I approve! Tang you very much.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jul 21, 2005 2:11:14 AM

David/Jack/Doctor Bean:
re. Tang -- wasn't that the "official drink" of those men on the moon all those years ago...and today being the anniversary of "The Moon Walk" (not the Michael Jackson kind)! How appropos.

*Orange* you glad you know me, that I can share these little *crystals* of information with you?

Posted by: Pearl | Jul 21, 2005 2:15:52 AM

Doc,

Thank you, thank you very much. And now for a complete rendition of Henny Youngman's act, or maybe not.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 21, 2005 2:25:36 AM

Jack... There really ought to be laws...

Shmiel... It wasn't really a surprise since Noa had called me in advance to tell me about the honor. But the way I was called up was a bit of a shocker! You were honored with the surprise 7th bracha because you and VV had done so much for us as friends... and of course, because of your beautiful singing voice! :-)

Doctor Bean... Please don't encourage him! :-)

Pearl... Oh never mind... I give up... have your fun!


Posted by: David | Jul 21, 2005 9:23:29 AM

David,

It was great to see you in person, to chat with Zehava and to be able to introduce my better half who has used various superlatives about you guys.

I thought it was cute that you got a plug - the MC gave everyone a context (Founder of Nefesh, Uncle of Bride etc) - he's more Noa's friend btw and also a very close friend of mine - getting married at the end of the year.

Look forward to seeing you at simchas,

Gilly

Posted by: Gil Ben Mori | Jul 21, 2005 10:09:46 AM

I think that the idea for the registry was wonderful and so original. I have never heard of that before. Did you know that they can now do mismatched bone marrow transplants? I know a little girl that is now an adult thanks to a bone marrow transplant. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: JC | Jul 21, 2005 10:23:00 AM

That was definitely one of the more memorable weddings I've ever attended, if not just for the speeches! Nice to finally meet the faces behind the words- thanks for the mention.

Posted by: PurpleParrot | Jul 21, 2005 11:41:13 AM

Jack... There really ought to be laws...

I guess that it is a good thing that there aren't or I'd be behind bars.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 21, 2005 4:34:49 PM

Siman tov umazal tov to the lovely couple! You're right about a Jewish wedding being a group effort -- and I enjoyed your post.

Posted by: Isaac B2 | Jul 21, 2005 9:51:53 PM

Gilly... The pleasure was all ours... and it was especially nice finally meeting your lovely wife. As to the MC... I'm assuming he that his intended is the charming Danish girl that was sitting next to me. Something about you Brits... you marry far above your station! :-)

JC... I didn't know that... but now I do. Thanks!

Purple Parrot... It was wonderful meeting you as well.

Jack... indeed.

Isaac B2... Thanks for the compliment. Many people don't realize how much of Judaism is participatory and relies on communal involvement. A very social religion we have here! :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 21, 2005 10:21:46 PM

David,

Whenever someone uses the the word "indeed" like that I always imagine someone like John Houseman or George Plimpton saying it. I always feel like there is so much more behind that, but unstated.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 21, 2005 11:00:54 PM

Jack... You don't say. ;-)

Posted by: David | Jul 22, 2005 12:10:51 AM

Mazal Tov to all. I am amazed at the Bone Marrow Registration idea.. They must be special individuals.

Posted by: Shevy | Jul 23, 2005 12:14:59 AM

David,

I'm back in the internet world.

But, to clear a few things up...
1) You got the bracha because, as I explained to you, we wanted to receive brachot from people we wanted to receive brachot from. Bryan and I both admire and respect your family life, and what we can see of your marriage (from the blog and in person) and wanted a bracha from you. Also, I do appreciate the late-night shmoozes with Zahava...they defnitely helped me.

2)Sorry I was still taking pics when you arrived but the makeup/hair person arrived 1.5 hours late and thus made all of us very late. We were waiting for her in th hotel room for over an hour, and when I called her she was still at home!!! So even though we all looked good (I think) I will never recommend this woman to anyone because I would rather have looked less good and been less stressed...I had to have 2 glasses of wine just to chill out over being late!

3) We had a decent amount of people turn out to be tested for bone marrow. I'm glad they did a good job on you - they came an took it from me directly while I was sitting in the badekin chair - only the phlebotomist forgot a cotton ball!! So I used my bridal bouquet to blot :)

Glad you had a good time! Bryan and I look forward to visiting Casa de Bogner soon!

Posted by: Noa | Jul 28, 2005 7:26:45 PM

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