Madagascar Update: 12 Jewish Weddings!
It would hardly go into the Guinness Book of Records but it went into our personal book of records. Sunday the rabbis participated in twelve weddings. The married couples who converted now wanted chuppahs and kiddushin Jewish weddings to reconsecrate their relationships
How does one conduct 12 weddings at the same time while keeping each one personal and intimate? We decided to put up three chuppahs. Rabbi Neuman who is also an outstanding cantor would chant the introduction and the joyous seven blessings. The rings and the blessings recited when the rings are given would be conducted individually for each couple by Rabbis Neuman, Klein, and Sussman.
The air was filled with excitement and joy, the brides, even if some of them had been married in secular marriages for many years, even if they were grandmothers, glowed with happiness in their beautiful white gowns. Nelly Rabinowitz gathered the brides giving jewelry and make up and making sure their hair was just right. The grooms were full of excitement wearing their very best. The grooms were called up to stand under the Chupahs. The Chazan began to sing. A choir made up of the children of the couples who were being married proceeded down the steps singing Shalom Aleichem. They were followed by the procession of the 12 brides who joined their grooms under the Chuppahs for the ceremony. The blessings were recited the groom broke the glass, actually a plastic cup which Kulanu vice-president Bonita Sussman had brought from the US for the purpose. The crowd sang Mazal Tov u’Siman Tov and wished each other much joy.
The weddings were followed by a lovely reception which featured a marvelous wedding cake which was especially baked by Ashrey an outstanding local pastry chef and also president of the Jewish community. There were speeches in which Ashrey thanked us for all we had done for his country’s Jewish community, we thanked them for all that they had accomplished. This was one of the moments that made it all feel worthwhile.
-Rabbi Gerald Sussman #kulanumadagascar