Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Canada – CCCXXXIX. Wedding Bells (7 of 8)

We arrived in New York two days before the wedding.  I remember sleeping by Esther and Joseph.  My parents and my brother and his wife stayed in a hotel.  For the first time my parents met Norma`s parents; they got along superbly.

I saw Norma as much as I could during those two days.  We were so much in love and we were making the most of these precious hours of freedom.  Soon we would be married and would have to shoulder the responsibility that goes with it.  Our courtship has been so short, but no matter, at least we met; the girl from Brooklyn and the boy from Cairo.  Worlds apart, cultures apart.  Surely providence must have had a hand in it.

The great day of the wedding finally arrived.  To say that I was nervous would be to understate the case.  Many of the events of that day I can still remember; some other, however, has been erased by time.

I remember leaving the house way ahead of time.  We were supposed to go to the synagogue by taxi; but there was no taxi to be had.  Not an unusual occurrence on a Saturday night in New York.  Finally, Joseph called his son in law and asked him to pick us up.

When I finally arrived in the synagogue, I was first met by my father who understandably was furious.  I tried to explain that I could not get a cab, but it was to no avail.  Norma, who appeared very pale and nervous, came to my rescue.  Poor Norma, what must have been her thoughts waiting for me.  Did she think I got cold feet at the last minute?

Eventually things settled down.  The first order of the day was to sign the Ketoubah (marriage contract).

The marriage ceremony, as far as I can remember, followed this order:

The best man, Robert, and the maid of honor, Norma’s friend, Debbie, first went down the aisle together until they reached the flower bedecked Huppah (canopy).  Debbie looked beautiful in her turquoise blue, floor length satin, evening gown.  As for Robert, he looked strikingly handsome in his formal attire.

Next, my parents, with me in the center, came slowly down the aisle.

After a somewhat long pause, the bride, with both of her parents on each side, came slowly down the aisle.  Norma looked beautiful in her white wedding gown.  She was holding a bouquet of yellow roses.  All brides look beautiful, but my beloved’s face, at this moment, combined both beauty and innocence.

Finally, the religious ceremony began.  The rabbi was facing the congregation, whereas the two of us gave our backs to it.  The rabbi first recited the betrothal blessing, whereupon, we both sipped in turn from a cup of wine.  I then placed the wedding ring on the index finger of my bride and repeating after the rabbi, I recited the formula which made us husband and wife:  “Harey at mekuddeshet li betaba’at zot kedath Moshe ve-Yisrael.”  (Behold, thou art consecrated unto me by this ring according to the Law of Moses and Israel).

At this stage, I concluded that the ceremony was over and I kissed the bride.  The rabbi had a brief look of surprise and then advised me that it was not yet time to kiss the bride.  A ripple of laughter went through the congregation.

Next, the Ketoubah was read by the rabbi and he recited the “Sheva Berachot.”  (The seven marriage benedictions).  Thereafter, we both sipped wine once again, though from another cup.

The ceremony was concluded by my crushing a glass, wrapped in a towel, under my foot.  This is symbolic of the sadness that always mingles with the happiness in human life, and reminds those present the tragedies in Jewish history, especially the destruction of the temple.

The rabbi now told me, with a smile, that I could kiss my wife, which I promptly did.  Next, he shook hands and congratulated first my in laws and then my parents.

The final episode of the wedding proper was for us and our parents to stand in the receiving line and receive the congratulations of all those present.

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