By Y.B. Prost
I’m just an ordinary Jew with no agenda, but I have an idea that will undoubtedly save Klal Yisrael, by ensuring that the next generation understands the deep significance of marriage. In my opinion, we don’t do weddings right. They are downright boring.
I recently attended a friend’s wedding. Believe me, it was a posh affair, and I’m no rabbi but I believe it was also halachically impeccable. Yet the question burning in me was: Sure this is nice, but is it good theater? Given the tricks of the trade available today, we could do better. So sparing no expense, I got together a terrific team of directors, artists, writers, producers and camera people. We all agree that our weddings need more oomph: if you’re going to have a dramatic moment, make it really dramatic. If you’re going for poignancy, don’t skimp. We put together a sample script which I will now share with you.
Script for Matrimonial Follies
Home videos of the chasan & kallah as children finish, and the lights go out at the smorg. A shofar blows, signalling the start of the ceremony.
As guests enter and are seated, they are handed a walkman and a brief, tastefully-written brochure. It reads:
This will be an Orthodox ceremony. If you have never attended an Orthodox ceremony before, don’t leave! We are sincerely delighted, excited and grateful that you have joined us for this special moment, and we know you haven’t a clue as to what’s about to happen. To set your mind at ease, be assured that you, personally, will not have to say a single word in Hebrew; it is enough just to listen respectfully while the rabbis do their thing under the chupah (choo-pah: a ritual canopy used in weddings).
They then plug in their headphones to hear a tape on which Theodore Bikel sings Tumba-la-laika and tells a few shtetl stories. Nostalgic.
Cut to klezmer.
Enter groom, carried in a mahogany chaise by his four best friends. Everyone hums his favorite song.
Enter bridesmaids one by one, with appropriate narration: Next on the runway is Marla, our bride’s former roommate, dressed in a stunning gown of blue lace which has been lined wherever lining was absolutely necessary. Marla and our bride have been childhood pals up until last week, when they had a major falling out over the color of the flowers she now carries.
Start fans and floor smoke machines for cloud effect.
Enter bride and parents. She is knockout gorgeous. Mother recites Tehillim aloud in slow chant. Father’s face is covered by decktichel while caterer leads him in circles.
Baruch Haba and Mi Adir (sung by bride’s little brother in a sequined jumpsuit).
Parade of the Seven Rabbis. Brief biographies in Yiddish and English as they march toward the chupah. Should be dignified, but include human interest anecdotes. Narrative: A musmach of the Groise Yeshivah, Rabbi Mesader was the chasan’s sixth-grade rebbe and has not seen him since. We are especially grateful to this warm and wonderful tzaddik for participating in our simchah, though he will be leaving before the meal.
Seven-blessing chupah ceremony. Tradish.
Lighted numerals flash to keep audience aware of progress and to build momentum.
Rabbi speaks (if father-of-the-bride insists) on “The Real Meaning of Marriage.” Adam & Eve skit.
Im Eshkachech sung by children’s choir attired as exiled Hebrews. Moving.
Breaking of glass. This is never loud enough. Use amplifiers in every corner of the room. Follow with cannon finale of the “1812 Overture.”
Enter dancers. Twenty young men suddenly emerge from the crowd in embroidered shirts, and do a hora around the chasan & kallah, followed at a modest distance by the same number of maidens in billowing skirts hitting tambourines. Joined by mothers of bride & groom. Lively.
The editors tell me that they won’t print another word of this, so I can’t give you my socko ideas for the reception. Let me just say that the ceremony I’ve outlined is only the beginning. If we want to impress our kids with the beauty of Judaism, the time to start is now and the place to start is at our weddings.
Mr. Prost is a caterer with no discernible hechsher who serves the tri-state area.