This time of year is very reflective for some people. Usually older people. Remember what it was like to think that Yom Kippur was only a fast day, a day your parents made you sit in shul for hours and hours? What a bummer. And then you grew up and started learning the seriousness of the day, and about the 10 days leading up to that day. Reading the words in the machzor that imply your fate has now been sealed. If only we knew. Good? Bad? Life? Death? Fat? Thin?
Yes, there will be humor in this column. Lord knows that this past year was very serious, and I want this column to try to make you smile, not worry about if it is safe for you to leave your house this year. My mantra, as of late, has been “It is what it is.” And that still holds true.
While reflecting on this year, I was thinking about all of the simchas that I am going to miss. Team Avelut, as I have begun calling Husband #1 and me, will be missing about seven weddings in the next two months alone. And these are weddings that we really, really would like to be at, but it is what it is. It started me thinking about weddings today versus weddings 27 years ago.
When I was single, my line to everyone was, “Gee, I hope that I can get married before Yiddin goes out of style.” Yiddin was one of the simcha dances that the wedding guests (men on one side and women on the other) would perform at the wedding. Even the bride and groom got in on the fun. And it wasn’t just Yiddin, there were a whole bunch of songs that people would dance to, wedding after wedding after wedding. It really was an aerobic exercise to attend these simchas. I even remember my mother hosting a dance class for her friends to learn all of these simcha dances for my wedding. It was sort of like a cult for modern Orthodox women, going to simcha dance once or twice a week. (Since my mom wasn’t part of that cult, we had to have this private class. I am almost positive that it might have been more than one class, but I am not sure. Doesn’t matter.) I even remember going to the Granit Hotel for Pesach and the most popular activity was simcha since class. Don’t worry, it was only for women, and the glass was probably covered with newspaper so no men could look in at the class. Oy vey. So shtark. It’s really geshmack to be a yid. (You may google that expression. It is a good thing, though.)
I have no idea when weddings stopped having these dances. Not the slightest clue. It was sometime between August 20, 1995, and when we moved to Teaneck and started getting invited to grown-up weddings, after 2000 or so. A grown-up wedding is one you’re invited to because you are friends with the bride or groom’s parents, not the bride or groom.
That was also a really interesting realization. When did this happen? How do I not know any of the young people? Oh, right, BECAUSE I ARE NO LONGER CONSIDERED A YOUNG PERSON!!! Sorry, got a little carried away there.
The other things that has changed with weddings, this one for the good, is how the bride has her crew sitting on either side of her. Mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers, great grandmothers (if they are really blessed), aunts, etc. When did that genius at the wedding hall say, “You know what? Wouldn’t it be nice if the 98-year-old grandmother could sit next to her granddaughter the bride?” In my head, that is how it happened. And from then on, all the important ladies got to sit down and enjoy the bedeken. My mother and mother-in-law and grandmother were standing…. (This happened at all of the other weddings before my wedding as well, to be clear.) So there is that lovely change. Don’t know when it happened, but it really took off. There must be some underground wedding chatter somewhere, dictating when and how changes are made. Wedding mafia maybe? Who knows?
This brings me to the wedding singer. It used to be the guy from the band with the nicest voice. Now it something else entirely and it is many columns worth of material, so we will end on that note. Pun intended. (Note, singers, music, get it? Sorry…)
Wishing you all an easy fast and a gmar tov. May your year be filled with simchas that you can attend and enjoy.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is still hoping that they bring back Yiddin, even if her Oreos disagree with her vehemently!!!