A Jewish Wedding

There are 4 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by Rice.

  • Julie's a dear, long-term family friend. She decided that New Year's Day was a wonderful time to marry in Los Angeles (my opinion differs, but it was her wedding). We wouldn't miss it, so off we flew into the holiday travel chaos, and enjoyed being with Julie and her family, the new friends on husband Bobby's side (he's FBI, so no security concerns), and renewed ties with other LA friends.

    Julie for years had a high-level admin job with University Synagogue, so the rabbi was an old buddy and of course he was going to perform the rites. My knowledge of the various branches of Judaism is quite skimpy, but was aware that Julie and family were not members of the stricter branches, so assumed that she was Reformed rather than Orthodox or Conservative. Since it turned out that her wedding was to be held at Big Daddy's Antique Furniture store, it was clear that the rabbi shared her open world view.

    Even with this background I was still more than a little surprised when, during the ceremony, the rabbi's speech got to "... so when a man and a woman come together ...," he added "... or a man and a man or a woman and a woman ..." Wow! That was a surprise! Especially when there were before him, one obvious man and one unmistakable woman. So the inclusive added phrases were clearly to define the general parameters, and formed part of the rabbi's core beliefs.

    Later, at other wedding get-togethers (we probably went to about six different gatherings) I was able to discuss this with people more knowledgeable than I (pretty much anyone there), and got some enlightenment. Bobby's father put it like this: "You have to understand that in Judaism there is no Vatican." Meaning that rabbis have great latitude in deciding these issues - something that the larger Christian sects usually don't allow. Even the non-Vatican branches usually have someone at the top deciding issues of faith.

    So my education continues - and I'd like to know more about this, too.

  • Well, even in Italy each priest has a church of their own.

    When I was a little kid, the church was all there was. So despite my mother not being a believer, I had to attend the Catholic classes each week and go to mass and that got me access also to the Church's playground (the only playground in my little town, where all the other kids hang up - which was the main reason for my attendance).

    But in late 90s, in Rome they started to accept altar girls. The Pope said it was okay to have altar boys AND altar girls. So I offered to be an altar girl, mostly because I would have enjoyed the stage time every Sunday and the popularity, but I was dismissed with a condescend tone: it was boy stuff, no matter what they said in Rome. Maybe in Rome they sad so for the public opinion.

    So I started to become angry at the Church. Before then, they did not wanted to admit it at the church class because my parents were separated. It didn't matter that my paternal grandmother was an esteemed catechist in another and bigger town. They said, straight to my mother face, that separated parents cannot give an authentic family example, so I was irremediably compromised. Let it be clear that I was baptized when I was less than 1 year old, my parents were married in church, etc.

    Back then, the rules were quite strict: you could attend only if you had a Catholic upbringing, and this included being born from a proper Catholic marriage. If your parents weren't married in church, no church for you either.

    It was to my surprise that when I visited Rome for the first time, at the age of 13, I was denied entry to St. Peter's because I was wearing shorts. I have no problem in saying I was a chubby child at the time, not a sexy baby beauty queen. The security guard said I needed a proper attire to enter the church, so my mother and I walked to find a shop selling long skirts for me to wear. Whereas, at the same time in my small town's church, families assisting to marriage/confirmation/baptism masses were using sexy attire (the females, meaning naked shoulders, miniskirts, exaggerated makeup, super-high heels, etc.)

    That is where me and the Church divorced. I never assisted mass after my confirmation, except for others' funerals and marriages.

  • As Ed pointed out, the Catholic Church has a comprehensive, well defined theology that has evolved very little over centuries. Individual priests do not differ on matters of faith or doctrine. On other matters, however, there are many cosmetic and cultural differences among individual parishes. Despite Mass being said in the local vernacular for almost 60 years, there are still some priests who persist in the Latin Mass, whenever allowed. Some churches STILL don't allow altar girls. While there are parishes that rely on the beautiful old pipe organs, others have string quartets or folk music.

    In the 60's, when the Church was adjusting (not well) to fashion's turn to miniskirts, a well-known example of fixation on modest dress was the insistence at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, that women's knees must be covered. As long as this rule was observed, common sense did not dictate that ace bandages wrapped around the knees were not appropriate or adequate "cover!" Serafina, you needn't have shopped for a longer skirt -- artfully draped lunch napkins might have sufficed!