Saturday – Synagogue & Dinner

The morning after the great get together at Martin & Catherine’s we were off to Shule, (i.e Synagogue or Temple). Only a few of the wedding party were there; many of us not quite sure what the gathering was about. It was my first attendance at a Synagogue, and I was looking forward to it with great interest. When the Rabbi beckoned Martin and Catherine to join him on the bimah we soon learned we had gathered there to witness an “auf ruf”, literally a ‘calling up’; a strong custom–particularly among conservative Jews–“bordering” on an institution. It is perhaps an important option; for it enables the family of the groom–assuming that the wedding is being held in the bride’s synagogue–to invite many of their friends to a service and kiddush (i.e.sanctification),whom they cannot invite to the actual wedding. Often these auf ruf guests can include the bride’s family, and guests who won’t be invited to the wedding.

Auf-ruf is a Yiddish term, taken from German, which means “to be called up.” Auf Ruf is generally an Ashkenazi or European custom in which a groom – or both the groom and bride in egalitarian congregations – is called up to the Torah (aliyah l’Torah) during a worship service when the Torah scroll is being read as an honor before the wedding. After the Torah reading, a blessing (berakha) known as a MiSheBerakh is recited in which members of the congregation ask for God’s blessings for the bride and groom on their forthcoming marriage and life together as husband and wife. This auf-ruf generally occurs the Sabbath morning before the wedding or perhaps the week in advance.

In the Sefardi tradition, on the Sabbath following the wedding, the couple comes to the synagogue for Shabbat Chatan (groom) and once again the families have an opportunity to wish the bride and groom well with the recitation of a MiSheBerakh blessing”.

But first we sat through a young Jewish girl’s Bat Mitzvah, a solemn ceremony–chiefly among Reform and Conservative Jews–that is held in the synagogue on Friday night or Saturday morning to admit formally, as an adult member of the Jewish community, a girl 12 to 13 years old.

The Bat Mitzvah  involved most of the service that morning. The auf-ruf was over in less than half and hour; certainly of an equally solemn nature as the young girls;  but like her’s, also a time of great joy. Of course, for myself and others who had never attended any kind of activity in a Synagogue, it was quite fascinating, and edifying.

Those who could, took advantage of the ‘day of rest’; and after lunch napped, strolled, shopped, or attended to all the last minute items needing  to be taken care of before the wedding. The ladies–treated to manicures by Catherine–went off to have their hands prettified; and those men who had not as yet finalized their tux fittings made their way to the outfitters for a final tuck here and there; then, the finished product tucked under their arms,they headed back to their respective hotels, or as in Simon’s case, to his B&B. As the time grew near, and with everyone looking spiffy, we arrived at the dining room in the Raddison Hotel, for another ‘special occassion’.

Catherine & Shane

Catherine & Shane

Grandpa (Catherine’s grandfather, Bob Levenstein) hosted the lavish dinner for the two families and their close friends; and I must say, it was a wonderful evening, made more wonderful as our four boys were together again.

The four 'boys'!

The four boys!

How they went on, chatting away, hardly letting a word from each other squeeze through as they reviewed the years that had flown by; and how those years had treated them. They were a joy, everyone was taken by the camaraderie that flowed between them and it was easy to tell–by the amused glances and positive vibes coming from the guests–that there is a lot of warmth and love in the Wales and Katz families. People they met found their humor and laughter infectious; and in no way offensive. These guys know how to have fun without disturbing anyone’s equilibrium.

Janet & her boys!

Janet & her boys!

For Janet it was a moment that she had longed for; and now had arrived.


Every event (everything was so well managed and catered that I must use the word event), was a party; and like the terrific spread laid out at Martin’s and Catherine’s the night before, this too was excellent. These photos hardly do justice to what was presented to us. Here are a few shots of the food served, and the folks who were there.

There they are!

There they are!

Well, there was Luke showing off his painted toe-nails. I had to put that in. I mean! The laden tables; the gourmandizing guests; the happy families and celebrating friends–filled with the pleasure of being a part of it, and in each others company. A building excitement in everyone about THE DAY coming up, filled the air.

Mike, hard at it!

Alex, hard at it!

Uncle David was such a great part of the evening. He is a terrific story teller, and certainly knows how to tell a joke or relate an amusing story. His Canadian family gravitated around him, and their affection for him was most apparent. He loved it, and I know was very moved.

Photos, photos, photos!

Martin, Catherine,

Sara, Catherine, Martin & Shane

Martin asked everyone who snapped pictures of the different gatherings to send a copy along to him; he had it in mind to create a CD of as many as possible to send to family and friends; that they might remember again, the many wonderful moments that made up the five days of the wedding.

Chocolate coated Sunflower seeds!

Chocolate coated Sunflower seeds!

The 'boys' - A handsome lot!

The 'boys' - A handsome group.


Grandpa & Marsha


Carol and many more. Bon Appettit!


Alex, Shane & Michael Sheridan


Coffee anyone?

I’ll include a few so you can get an idea of the fun time it was. (Over a thousand photos ended up in Martin’s computer! Oy!

Martin and Debora

Martin and Debora!

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 8:45  Leave a Comment  

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