The differences between dancing, parading and rioting.

It’s nearly a year since our wedding, and we still get the same reaction when the topic comes up around friends or family:

Your wedding was really something – everyone danced together, it was so fun. Everyone was just so happy, for the same reason, and dancing all together. It really was something.

The reaction is related to the fact that our wedding was a clear mix of stereotypes: charedi Israelis, charedi Anglos, secular Israelis, modern Orthodox Anglos, dati leumi Israelis, olim of various types and birthplaces and mother tongues.

Yet they all participated, from the longest payot to the smoothest scalps. They all held each other and danced and watched a Jewish couple get married.

It makes me proud every time someone mentions it. I’m not one to accept compliments gracefully, but I don’t consider this a compliment for me or my husband or both of us together. It’s a compliment to the people who joined us, became involved and just didn’t look left or right before crossing into the dancing circles (separated by gender as they may have been). At that time and place, derech eretz had actually come before Torah. It’s the best wedding gift the two of us could have asked for.

Now, if only it were the same all the time, sometimes, or even rarely. If only the organizers of the Jerusalem gay pride parade and the charedis against it could stop looking left and right for a minute to just realize one thing they have in common: their Jewish souls, born from Jewish mothers. Gay pride parade organizers sin, charedis sin. I sin, you sin. But we all do good at some point, right?

What if Thursday – the day scheduled for the next parade – was about realizing that, instead of dissonance? What if everyone gathered and did something together for people we can all agree are troubled – the sick, the poor, the starving, the hunted, those left behind?

Comments

  1. Geoff Sharp says:

    Your writing is wonderful. From down here in NZ these concepts are so foriegn and far away

  2. eliesheva says:

    Thanks Geoff…

    I should’ve posted this earlier, but, just in case -

    charedi: Ultra Orthodox observant Jew
    Anglo: English-speaking
    dati leumi: national religious
    olim: Jewish immigrants to Israel
    payot: hair grown below the jawbone on men, usually noticeable on charedis
    derech eretz: literally, ‘the way of the land’, meaning, acting on values (”derech eretz comes before Torah” is a Hebrew-Jewish phrase meaning, acts of kindness and good come before study)
    Torah: Jewish bible

    More background: The Gay Pride Parade that is annually scheduled for Jerusalem is always clashing with the charedi and much of the Jerusalem community; it is believed not to be in the taste of Jerusalem and therefore should occur in other cities. The LGBT community obviously wishes to promote its free speech abilities and rights in their identities and tolerance. It is scheduled this year for this upcoming Thursday, and so far has not been canceled. I guess we’ll see…

  3. rabbi sedley says:

    Fantastic Post!! If only life could be like a wedding!
    Let’s all dance in the streets together instead of protesting.
    Thank you for that.

    Rabbi Sedley

  4. Jonny Steel says:

    The comedian Yisrael Campbell said that when he saw the Gay Pride Parade on television, he saw a bunch of guys dancing together, and a bunch of grils dancing together. He said it reminded him of a charedi wedding… only in colour! Perhaps they’re not so dissimilar after all :-)