Article Side

Online Article Directory!

Hello Guest! Login or Register to submit articles!

The Rabbi and the Elephant: How I Officiated a Cosmopolitan Interfaith Wedding in Thailand

By Rabbi David Gruber Subscribe to RSS | February 6th 2012 | Views:
loading
 
  



With guests from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Thailand and the U.S. present, Nad and Alex's wedding was easily one of the most cosmopolitan I had ever officiated. With a fairly traditional inclusive Jewish ceremony, bookended by Thai customs, it was definitely one of the most intercultural. Throw in the fact that I was upstaged by an elephant, and you have the backdrop for a great story!

While one might think that the coupling of a Russian Jew and a Thai Buddhist might be a challenge, this bride and groom showed that it need not be so. This may just be because the bride, Nad (short for Nadusa), and the groom, Alex, who live in Australia, are true citizens of the world. Nad was born in Thailand, but grew up mainly in Australia and Europe, due to her father's work for Royal Thai Airways. She was schooled in an international school in Paris, and is fluent in (standard American accented) English, French, German and Thai. Alex was born in Russia, and he grew up there and (from age 15) in the U.S. He trained as a radiologist at Harvard, and practices a specific type of medicine that embodies the global village we live in. If you ever have an x-ray done in the middle of the night, you may wonder where on earth they find a radiologist to read it. Well, on the bottom part of the earth, that is where! It may, in fact, be Alex, a "nighthawk" radiologist, who by virtue of being in a very different time zone, will, during what is day for him, get a report back to your stateside doctor. Nad also (naturally) works for an international corporation.

The couple reflects a cosmopolitan life not only in their upbringing, their professional lives and their personal day to day lives, but also in their philosophy of living. They are both very proud of their cultural heritages, but in terms of actual religious beliefs are much more humanistic in their leanings. They wanted their ceremony to reflect this, and their idea of how it would was to have a fairly traditional, while inclusive, Jewish ceremony, with Thai customs before and after it. For the location, they chose Koh Samui, a small picturesque island in the southern part of Thailand.

Their exciting beachside ceremony began with the sound of the beating of a gong and drums and men we could not yet see, shouting in Thai, "Here we come, we are here," as they drew closer. The first thing we then saw was four ornately and traditionally dressed young Thai women, swaying slowly as they processed. We then saw the men we had heard before, followed by the "guest of honor" - a baby elephant! The elephant was decorated with ornate jewelry and was dancing too. They brought in the groom, and sat him next to the bride. One of the men then set up a xylophone, and the four women danced to its music an elaborate synchronized dance in front of the bride and groom. They ended by spreading before them a bed of rose petals in perfect synchronization.

I then officiated the Jewish portion of the ceremony under a lovely chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy) on the beach. They exchanged heartfelt vows and rings, and shared a cup of wine. They signed an attractive ketubah (ceremonial Jewish marriage contract) written in Hebrew, English and Thai. (Nad's mom, a professional translator, helped with the translation.) I then blessed them with the Priestly Blessing, which is the most ancient copy of scripture archeologists have found in Israel. I explained how our forefathers, those who gave us the Torah, imagined my mythic ancestor, the first high priest, Aaron, brother of Moses, blessing the Children of Israel with these very words. I love reciting this blessing in a third language (aside from Hebrew and English) when appropriate. In fact, I have blessed couples in Spanish (I do live in Tejas, after all), French, Arabic and Bulgarian. This time I used four languages, as I blessed Nad and Alex with the words of my great ancestor and theirs in Hebrew, English, Russian and Thai.

After the Jewish portion of the ceremony, we observed more Thai customs. We all got to feed the baby elephant. This "baby" ate whole clusters of bananas and watermelon quarters. The elephant also danced some more while playing the harmonica. (Seriously.) In Thai culture the elephant is the symbol of the king, and therefore in a broader sense is used to symbolize the nation and its happiness. Nad and Alex then planted a small "love tree" together, and raised a "marriage flag" on a tall staff. The final Thai custom was most interesting. Guests were invited to light small paper-covered lanterns. Once lit, by the virtue of the hot air inside, these rose far into the air, till they looked like far away stars. Each guest was encouraged to make a wish upon these stars for the good fortune of the bride and groom.

During my personal remarks, I talked about what a wonderful lesson the bride and groom taught us, in bringing us all together on that magical island. They showed us that people from different countries, cultures and religions can come together, enjoy each other's company and cultures, and make this seem effortless. Hopefully, I said, the whole world will learn Nad and Alex's lesson too. And, if they need an elephant to help make this happen, consider it done...

Rabbi David Gruber - About Author:
© Copyright 2012 - Rabbi David S. Gruber – All Rights Reserved. This article was first published on www.interfaithfamily.com: Rabbi David Gruber is a former Orthodox rabbi, who has served in many educational and religious leadership positions in the Jewish community. Now, he sees himself as a Jewish secular humanist, and as such he officiates interfaith weddings. Visit his website http://www.interfaithweddingrabbi.net

Share on Facebook Tweet It Stumbleupon this post This post is delicious !

Article Source:
http://www.articleside.com/weddings-articles/the-rabbi-and-the-elephant-how-i-officiated-a-cosmopolitan-interfaith-wedding-in-thailand.htm

Related Weddings Articles Subscribe to RSS

Purchasing the best wedding cards for your Nuptial
Published by Carmen Black on June 18th 2012 | Weddings
How to find the chic yet cheap wedding invitations for your nuptial? This article is trying to give ...
 
Indian wedding ceremony program
Published by Aman Kumar on January 25th 2012 | Weddings
Indian wedding is the very famous in all over world and in the wedding there are many people come ar...
 
Making wedding a sweet memory for your lifetime
Published by Celina Fox on November 30th 2011 | Weddings
Wedding day is a very memorable day for very ones life. it is the perfect way to celebrate the bondi...
 
Wedding lighting Los Angeles can create a beautiful atmosphere through outdoor wedding lighting
Published by Joe Gordon on April 3rd 2012 | Weddings
The fact that there are several wedding planners in the city of Los Angeles to help with the plannin...
 
Marriage Experts with Flower shops and wedding flowers
Published by Amazoniaflowers on April 24th 2012 | Weddings
There are many things to take into account other than the obvious: shade. For example, different flo...
 
Green theme wedding: save money on wedding invitations
Published by Woshitiancai222@gmail.com on December 6th 2011 | Weddings
Vibrant green wedding invitations overflowing with enthusiasm and vigor customarily act as a brillia...
 
Making wedding invtations yourself is not the cheapest way
Published by Woshitiancai222@gmail.com on December 2nd 2011 | Weddings
Searching for cheap wedding invitations? Making them yourself is not the simplest, most pleasurable,...
 
An exotic wedding venue for your dream wedding
Published by Merlin Parrera Is An SEO Expert Who Has Written Many Articles On Kent Wedding Venues, Weddings In Kent And Patio Heaters on July 22nd 2012 | Society
Wedding is something really big and the families are involved to make the moment even more special. ...
 
A wedding is perfect with the use of perfect wedding lights
Published by Joe Gordon on April 28th 2012 | Weddings
Decorating a wedding these days have become very easy. As every necessary thing is easily available....
 
Start to prepare your spring wedding
Published by Woshitiancai222@gmail.com on December 7th 2011 | Weddings
One of the most colorful weddings to plan is a spring themed wedding. Spring is a great season to ge...
 
Some romantic outdoor wedding plans
Published by Celina Fox on July 18th 2012 | Weddings
There really are many great outdoor wedding ideas that can be used by you. Be creative, unique and r...
 
Modern tips for wedding flowers decoration
Published by Aman Kumar on January 4th 2012 | Weddings
Flowers have always been admired for its beauty and fragrances. They have always been traditionally ...
 
Indian Wedding Cards: Makes the wedding ravishing
Published by Ida Marks on August 1st 2012 | Weddings
This article tells you that Wedding themes are purposed to synopsize an alluring plea to the ecstati...
 
Wedding Lightings: a perfect touch to a wedding
Published by Joe Gordon on May 4th 2012 | Weddings
Lightings when placed and used perfectly makes the wedding day much more beautiful....
 
Indian wedding ceremony program
Published by Aman Kumar on January 25th 2012 | Weddings
Indian wedding is the very famous in all over world and in the wedding there are many people come ar...
 
Brisbane offers special wedding venues, beautiful areas designed for photography
Published by Ema Sis on July 2nd 2012 | Weddings
The wedding caterers will really supply the fast & productivity services. The photo prints of a Bris...
 
Vital aspects in selecting wedding venue
Published by Spain Shall on April 6th 2012 | Society
Wedding venue is where the extremely happy couple and their family members, friends and other relati...
 
Lighting at wedding venue increase the beauty
Published by Joe Gordon on April 3rd 2012 | Weddings
Table decorations and centerpieces for the tables will not complete however without some attractive ...
 
Choose Affordable wedding venues
Published by Deepak Verma on January 21st 2012 | Weddings
Venue is the chief element of focus in any sort of function, especially wedding. The other chief ele...
 
Smooth and properly fresh wedding flowers shop to buy flowers
Published by Amazoniaflowers on April 23rd 2012 | Weddings
Modern – The contemporary woman selects to create a big, strong declaration with her marriage blos...