Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hava Negila—Let Us Rejoice

I wore socks to Ellie and Donny’s wedding Sunday. 

We danced the hora to Jewish and Israeli music, though not to the traditional melody of Hava Negila. By coincidence, after Gilda and I returned home from the wedding weekend at West Point’s Thayer Hotel, I opened an email from my cousin Herb. It contained a 10-minute video on the history of Hava Negila, a tune that has become a mainstay of many a singer’s repertoire and the background music for ice skaters and gymnasts, the most recent being Olympian Aly Raisman’s gold medal floor exercise program. Give a look, as old Jewish men used to say: http://vimeo.com/43425677

Allowing for an understandable amount of parental pride, believe me the bride was beautiful, the groom was handsome, the ceremony on an embankment overlooking the Hudson River, under a chupah stitched by Donny’s mother, with vows lovingly authored by Ellie and Donny, was joyous, spectacular and spiritual, the food was delicious, the music romantic and sassy, and the feeling of community, from Donny’s family and friends and from our family and friends, palpable. As Gilda referenced Hillary Clinton in her remarks, it truly takes a village to raise a child. We have been fortunate to have had loving helpers craft the woman Ellie has grown into, and that Donny’s family and friends molded him into the mensch he is. 

Hava Negila means "let us rejoice." The afterglow still warms Gilda’s and my heart.