My Story: Aliza's haredi wedding

Separate dancing has now given way to separate seating, sky-high mehitzot and separate buffets.

wedding cartoon 88 248 (photo credit: Illustration by Pepe Fainberg)
wedding cartoon 88 248
(photo credit: Illustration by Pepe Fainberg)
There is a new topic of conversation at the mah-jongg, canasta and bridge tables. It goes something like this: "Your grandson/granddaughter got married?" "Yes." "Mazal tov! And how was the wedding?" A sigh. The players, who know what is coming, wait politely. What follows is known as the lament of the Orthodox, which decries the sorry state of our offsprings' frumkeit. Let me allay your fears lest you think they have left traditional Judaism. Quite the opposite. We grew up in frum homes and raised our children in a similar environment. We studied, as did our children, in Orthodox day schools which recognized the female brain as one that need not be relegated to midot and sewing classes, but was quite capable of learning Talmud as well. Watching our children grow, marry and raise their children in good Jewish homes, indicated to us that, with God's help, we had done something right. And then the grandchildren grew up. Separate dancing, which had crept insidiously upon us, has now given way to separate seating, sky-high mehitzot and separate smorgasbord buffets. I have been unable to ascertain the danger in eating next to my husband unless it may lead to nagging him to forgo the desserts. The band, of course, is in the male section. If the hall is large enough, we are able to hear the music. The gift receptacle is located near the male smorgasbord. It is the hapless, unattached female who must scuttle in, deposit the gift, and beat a hasty retreat, like some vilified cockroach. But not before noticing that the carving boards, hamburger grills and the bar are there, not in the women's section. I don't need the grilled hot dog, the thin slices of roast beef. I don't seek the so-called equality in shul of female aliyot or mixed seating. I can hold my own in a Talmud class, and am quite content to exchange whispered tidbits with the girls in the women's section. I don't, however, like being relegated to society's back of the bus. My faith is just as strong as in my youth, but I resent this movement to out-haredi the haredim. Grandparents must use the utmost caution in planning sheva brachot. The hashgaha of the Jerusalem Rabbinate is not adequate. It must be Badatz. And not just any old Badatz, but Badatz d'rabeinu (choose one). After a few rounds of play, the conversation continues. "What does the hatan do? How will they manage?" A shrug. We know what that means. Parents have become impotent in the face of the current trend of dependency glorification. Learning is wonderful; responsibility to earn one's own way in the world is better. "What will he do eventually?" Another shrug, a krechts. We go along with this. My granddaughter's "Bubbie, let me bless you" at her wedding, my son's hug which contained his lifelong love and gratitude, and I rejoice at this haredi-plus wedding. We rejoice at the establishment of a new bayit ne'eman b'yisrael. We bask in the joy of the newlyweds. Still, we have been admonished to "lo tigra memenu." But what happened to "lo tosif alav"?