Mira and Idan had decided to convert the Moshav’s community pool into a posh wedding extravaganza and posh it most certainly was. This was to be a pretty massive wedding, with an expectation of between 300-350 guests. I have seen the pool during the day and I couldn’t quite visualize how they were going to design the whole thing, but they most certainly outdid themselves.
The entire area was divided in two (with the pool in the middle). One side was for the reception and the huppa, and the other for dinner and dancing.
The huppa was built on a platform that sat in the middle of the kiddie pool. It looked incredible, floating as it were in the midst of the pool. I did mention to Mira that forever after, every time she watches a kid pee in the pool she can think to herself, “Ahhh, that’s where I got married.” However, in the glow of candles and the crescent moon you couldn’t ask for something more sublime.
The period directly before the huppa was a little weird for me. People I hadn’t seen in years, plus a multitude of people I had never met before were arriving. I kept being approached by some now aging figure from my past, who would say something “droll” like, “Are you getting taller or am I getting shorter?” Oy vey! And besides, I was still trying to reconcile myself to the fact that my baby sister was getting married. As distraction, I took it upon myself to make sure that the whiskey was being properly displayed at the bar. The bar tenders themselves were somewhat shocked that I wanted to put out all the bottles. Why not just put out 1 or 2 and save the rest. It’s not their fault for thinking this way, but if they knew my family they would realize how preposterous this suggestion is.
Again, coming to terms with Mira getting married was no easy task, and I find myself even now making emotional sense of it only vis-à-vis the little details that surround this momentous occasion. It’s little things like Mira applying some last minute makeup in the pool’s toilet, as her friends fix her dress and figure out her veil. Or the photographer shouting at me for taking pictures over his shoulder of the family in the traditional poses. Or just the smell of the air and the buzz of conversation, none of which I can recall verbatim.
And then suddenly it was time for the huppa, and the family marched forth to take their positions.
The stage for the huppa wasn’t particularly large, but we all somehow made it under the canopy (being held up by Idan’s closest friends and my cousin Ilan). All in all there must have been about 15 people plus the rabbi crowded into this little area.
Once again, I find myself reliving the ceremony through the minutest of details, and not, as one might expect, the grandeur of the moment. What I remember is my brother Aaron’s hand resting on the small of my mother’s back. Mira’s eyelashes crisscrossing in the middle of her right eye. A sea of indistinguishable faces watching us from across the little pool. Ilan’s hand resting on the canopy post. Somehow, it all distills down to fragmented images like these. And yet every one carries immense power.
Mira’s friends had instructed me to make sure I removed Mira’s veil immediately after the ceremony, as in the onslaught of well-wishers it may get snagged and pulled at. This little thought helped moor me throughout the ceremony and I fulfilled my position perhaps a little too eagerly, snatching it away almost instantly once Idan broke the glass.
And that was it, it was over, and they were married. And suddenly there were hundred of people all clamoring to hug and kiss and congratulate. I had to walk away from the whole tumult of people, just to gather my thoughts and compose myself before I had to actually speak to anyone. As I said, watching your baby sister get married is a wonderful and strange thing.
I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account of the party. I didn’t eat much, although I’m told the food was terrific. I drank plenty whiskey, and was thrilled that our entire stock was completely and utterly depleted by the end of the evening. Israelis, apparently, have acquired a taste for quality single malt (and as promised, the whiskey was as much a topic of conversation as how beautiful the bride looked).
And we danced, joyfully, exuberantly, and well into the night.
At the end of the evening I was charged with driving the wedding car home as Mira and Idan got a ride into Tel Aviv to spend the night at some plush hotel. Mira made sure I remove the decorative flowers from the car as apparently the less savory characters of Israel’s criminal underbelly have figured out that the car driving home from a wedding adorned with flowers or ribbons is also likely to have the stash of checks in it. Sad to say there have been stories of newlyweds getting carjacked, and having all their gelt snatched out from under them.
I drove home, accompanied by my inebriated cousin Tess, pausing only to snap a quick photo of a sign pointing the way to the nuptials. In Hebrew and English, it simply read, “Mira and Idan”.