Thursday, June 6, 2013

Why I Can’t Write

I wrote my last blog entry just before the holiday of Shavuot, nearly a month ago. Since that time, I have not felt moved to share, analyze or synthesize the events of the times. After Shavuot, the summer looms large, and the next Jewish season of the High Holy days is still months away. Of course, Shabbat arrives every week without fail. Thanks to my two weekly hevruta (study) partners, I have found some teachings to offer at Shabbat services. Other than that, I can’t write.

My mind is on weddings. Joe and Lindsay were married over Memorial Day weekend. Matt and Jill will be married in August. Max and Alli asked me to perform a civil ceremony for them in Massachusetts prior to their Jewish wedding in Pennsylvania (where marriage equality has yet to be established). Other temple families are eagerly planning weddings for next year.

And Brian and I are anticipating the wedding of our daughter, Aviva to Colin, her beloved since freshman year in college. With less than three weeks to go, I live and breathe wedding details. I wake up thinking about music and poems, I go to sleep worrying about what wine and beer to buy. My day is punctuated with emails from relatives, phone calls to the band, and checking the guest list on google docs.

Before you ask whether I will be officiating at this wedding, I will stop you with an emphatic “no.” Shortly after I graduated from rabbinical school I wrote an essay about why I choose not to officiate for family events. When other family members are concerned, I prefer to be just one of the family, a single voice in the crowd, rather than the orchestrator of sacred events. Since I wrote that essay I have been present for weddings and funerals but have only agreed to officiate once or twice. When Aviva and Colin announced their engagement last year, we all immediately and happily agreed that I stand by the huppah but not under it.

I’ve learned that many of my colleagues have “schepped naches” (glowed with pride) under the huppah with their children. I am happy for them. I would love to be able to bless my daughter at her wedding. Yet I wonder how a parent can be a rabbi for a new son- or daughter-in-law. When I officiated at my children’s b’nai mitzvah services, they were participating in our community’s ritual and as rabbi, I was able to separate out my role as a parent. But when welcoming in a new family member and in-laws, the roles can be blurred. At the very least, I should not be engaging in pre-marital counseling with close family members!

Being Mother of the Bride is a phenomenal honor, joy and responsibility. It has been a pleasure to get to know Colin more deeply over this past year. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have enjoyed every step of the process: as Aviva and Colin have planned the wedding, when we chose her wedding dress, and now as we email and call each other at least once a day. Brian and I are blessed to have a loving relationship with our children and we couldn’t be happier about this new stage of life for Aviva and Colin and for our entire family.

But for now, I can’t seem to think about anything else.

And I couldn’t imagine a more joyful excuse for not writing—for now!