Less than a day after my arrival in Israel, I had my friend, Jen’s, wedding. First, I just wanted to start off by mentioning what an amazing person Jen is and how lucky I am to have her in my life. She is truly a wonderful friend who is always so positive, friendly, energetic, hard worker, and an all-around a great person. I was incredibly honored to be able to attend her wedding in Israel and witness such a special day for she and her fiancé.
Having never attended an Israeli wedding before (shocking right?!), I was SO excited to see what all of the hype was about! First, Israeli weddings are CASUAL. YES, I said CASUAL. I walked in with my hot pink lace dress, while there were people wearing jeans, and jumpsuits. It’s more fun that way! It took place at a beautiful garden venue in Rishon Lezion, which is about 20-30 minutes south of Tel Aviv. When I arrived to the venue, I saw Jen, looking STUNNING in her wedding dress and of course, she greeted me with a huge smile and big bear hug! After the drinks were flowing, and I didn’t have one since I was recovering (I’ll let you guess from what 🙂 ), we all gathered for the ceremony. In a Jewish wedding ceremony, the couple and immediate family, stand under the chuppah, which is a canopy that symbolizes the home that the couple will build together. Then, the Rabbi recited a few blessings, said a few words about the couple, and at the end of the ceremony the groom stomped on a glass, and we yelled, “MAZAL TOV”, which means congratulations. Something that was different from any other wedding that I have been to, was that everyone stood and surrounded the bride and groom for the entire ceremony. Everyone just wanted to be as close as possible to share their love for them and experience this beautiful moment with Jen and Yotam.
After the ceremony, the party really got started. And let me just say in case you didn’t know, ISRAELIS KNOW HOW TO PARTY! Everyone eats (you know Jews are all about food), and then it’s dancing time. I must say, Israelis put Americans to shame when it comes to dancing! Ok ok, I won’t generalize, but attend an Israeli wedding, and then tell me it isn’t true! MEN, TAKE NOTE, get on the dance floor. I promise, if you are out there dancing the women are giving you mad props. Everyone was, as Dave Matthews says, eating, drinking and being merry! It was AMAZING! And the ruach (spirit) was truly indescribable.
Jen, thank you for sharing your special day with me. Words cannot describe how very happy I am for the both of you to begin your married life together in Israel. It is just the beginning of a lifetime with someone who I know is your perfect match. I love you more than words can say and I am so glad that I was able to take part in your special day!
Speaking of beginnings, this was just the start of my time in Israel. The following evening, I bought tickets to see Batsheva Dance Company. For those of you who do not know, I have danced for over 20 years and even though I definitely don’t dance like I used to, it is still one of my passions, and I always enjoy going to see dance performances. The first time I saw Batsheva Dance Company was in college, where they performed a piece called Echad Mi Yodea, and it left me speechless. The dancers move in ways that are really extraordinary for the human body, and the choreography from Ohad Naharin, is very unique in that there is a lot of repetition throughout the pieces and they are usually somewhat provocative. I have seen them perform at least six or seven times, and each time I am captivated by the sheer brilliance of the dancers, the choreography, and the ability of the dancers to control their bodies while performing such spastic and often times jarring movements. If you ever get the chance, and they tour often, and are usually in NYC once a year or so, you should definitely go see them! I promise you are in for a treat!
On one of the first nights of my trip, I ate at one of my favorite restaurants in Tel Aviv, Kitchen Market. My next post is going to be about all of the delicious food that I ate in Israel. Here is a sneak peak of my meal at Kitchen Market.
My first few days in Israel were full of food, friends, laughter, love, and a lot of walking around! All things that that I LOVE and feel very lucky to have experienced in my first few days in my 3rd home, Israel.
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