Monday, September 29, 2008

L'Shanah Tovah

We just got back from our honeymoon and are rushing to get everything done before the chag. But quickly, I wanted to write a quick post to all of you...

For those of you who's address we don't have...this is the picture we sent with our Rosh Hashanah cards this year. You can see previous years' pictures here and here (geez is she growing up fast!)

Wishing you and your families L'Shanah Tovah. May the year bring us all good health, love, and happiness.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wedding Day - Part Two

PHD's 93-year old Mom accompanied him to the chuppah. I loved the look on her face all day as she was simply kvelling the entire time.

My Dad and LO escorted me to the chuppah while our Cantor sang (so beautifully). When we reached the chuppah, LO and I started to circle PHD. I don't know what goes on with other brides when they are doing this, but from fasting - I got dizzy! (Plus - how come no one told me how hard it is to navigate with a veil on?) So...I am guessing I looked a little drunk on the last few circles (the videotape will soon tell). PHD didn't help - he keep giggling and saying silly things. Best of all...on the 5th circle, LO said loud enough for all to hear, "How much longer do we have to do this?" Everyone (including myself) couldn't help but laugh. It was so sweet to have LO circle with me and so perfect that her little personality came right out during it all.

Rabbi D started the service. He is our Rabbi and the more traditional of the two and did most of the Hebrew. Rabbi M's job was to explain what was going on in English to those not familiar with a Jewish wedding (and that would be my Chinese gentile family members!).

Rabbi D did the kiddushin and PHD must have been nervous because he almost drank all the wine in the cup! Next we exchanged rings. (At this point LO looked perplexed as I put up my right index finger for the ring. She said, "Wrong finger!" I shush'd her. So when PHD placed it on my finger, LO exclaimed, "See - it doesn't fit on that finger!") From that point on, knowing that by Jewish law we were fully married, I could not stop smiling.

Next Rabbi D talked about the ketubah and it's significance. As he spoke about how the ketubah protects the woman, LO kept giving PHD looks like she was saying, "You got that - you better take care of my Ima!" It made me giggle. Rabbi M read the ketubah and he also talked a little bit about us. He explained that we had met at Shul on Shabbat (which is why the kippot that we gave out at the wedding say "Shabbat Shalom" inside in Hebrew). He explained how much we love Judaism and how important having a Jewish home is. I had no idea what he was going to say, but his speech was so lovely.

Next Rabbi D handed me and PHD each a candle. The Cantor sang as he lit each candle. When the Cantor finished singing, together we used our candles to light another candle joined as one. Rabbi D then spoke of the Baal Shem Tov's beautiful metaphor of souls as flames of light as he lit each candle.

The Cantor sang the sheva brachot, stopping after each bracha to allow Rabbi M to give the English translation. I had originally asked that only the Hebrew be read but in hindsight, the way they did it was really beautiful and more meaningful for my family since they could understand what was going on!

We drank the second cup of wine and Rabbi M said to PHD, "There are only two things left to do. One is to break the glass and the other is to kiss your bride." Thanks to the horrible colds we both had, we had not kissed or even held hands in over a week, so after he said "kiss your bride", PHD and I both did a little happy dance and had everyone in the sanctuary laughing. Rabbi M explained the symbolism of the glass and then PHD broke the glass (we saved the glass for this mezuzah) and then we kissed. We hugged as many well-wishers as we could before heading off for a few moments alone and a little snack!

I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day. For all of you who assured me that all the pre-planning stress would be worth it and that everything would be just fine - you were right - THANK YOU!

And now, all we have to figure out is are we now Dr. and Mrs. Orieyenta or Dr. and Mrs. PHD? :)

We had a professional photographer so more photos are sure to come. We leave for our honeymoon around 5:00 am tomorrow - won't be back until Erev Rosh Hashanah!

(For those are you who are wondering...I did end up inviting my mother. On Shabbat morning, I had what I call a "Yom Kippur" moment and I really felt like it was the right thing to do. And it was fine as she was on her best behavior.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wedding Day - Part One

Filled with excitement, I hardly slept. I kept waking up just about every hour. At around 6 am, I gave up and decided to take advantage of the fact that the sun had not risen yet and have a nice BIG pre-fast cup of COFFEE. This would help me avoid that caffeine-withdrawal headache that accompanies so many of my fasts.

LO woke up a bit later and then we were off to run errands. Once those were all done, I dropped LO off at Hebrew school and headed to pick up my Dad and his wife. (I had completely forgot about fasting when I invited them to breakfast!) I made a bagel for post-fast while they were eating hoping this would help them not feel uncomfortable that we were not eating. We spent a little time visiting and then I dropped them back at their hotel, went to pick LO up from Hebrew school and then headed back home. It was at that moment when I panicked and realized that the flowers had not yet been delivered. My panicked state was all for naught because when I walked in the house, there they were. (This is my bouquet. LO's was a miniature version of this one.)

We spent the next hour packing stuff in the car and trying to be sure not to forget everything. Just as we were going to get in the car, LO asked me to print her homework for her! She was going to spend the night at a friend's house after the wedding and would need her homework! about bad timing. Despite her lack of a printer and our laziness to hook her up to our printer, we managed.

And finally we were off to the Shul!

Remember my chuppah nightmare? In the end we decided to go with the chuppah that belonged to our shul. (Remember that it was not in the best of repair, but I decided to have faith that it would all work out somehow.) I kept talking with out Temple Administrator and he told me several times that he was going to do a trial run and set the whole thing up but with the High Holidays just around the corner he just got too busy to ever do it. He asked that PHD arrive early to the Shul on the wedding day to help set it up. When we got to the Shul (late of course) I went into the sanctuary and the chuppah was all set up and way more beautiful than I could have ever expected. I was so excited that I was literally jumping up and down...and what else did I do? I of course took a picture with my phone and uploaded it to Facebook.

While PHD was working on getting everything set up, I went to the library which I planned to use as a dressing room. When I got there, I was greeted with a broken doorknob and so we were never able to get in there! I headed to the kitchen where my friend was baking challot for us. She also happened to be the person who was going to do LO's hair and who was going to help me with my veil. We decided it was apropos that she would help us get ready in the kitchen since she and I became friends when we were baking challot for the high holidays there years ago.

I searched for a quiet place to do some last minute davening and from that point on, things seemed to be happening at warp speed. LO and I headed off to get dressed. Then we ran back to the kitchen for hair and veil. (This is when we realized that we left all the hair stuff at home. Thankfully I had remembered the most important thing...the veil!) I had forgotten to do the corsages and boutonnieres for everyone so I had to run and quickly give those out and then run to the office to sign the ketubah. It was simply CRAZY! (Oh yeah and I decided I had to take a few pictures here and there in the middle of all of it!)

On to the bedeken. The Rabbis (Yes, plural. One who is our Rabbi and one who is PHD's very good friend) gathered my Dad and PHD's Mom. And along with LO, we all recited the blessing for the children. It was one of my favorite moments of the day to have my Dad blessing me, PHD's Mom blessing him and me and PHD blessing LO. PHD and I looked at each other as my veil was placed and I don't think I stopped smiling from that moment on.

And then it was time...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Wedding Day Tehillim

Photo by Hasan Sarbakhshian

With the frenzy that must always occur in the days leading up to a wedding, it completely slipped my mind to ask if anyone wanted me to daven for them. Thankfully someone reminded me! (Thanks Hadassah!)

If you would like me to include anyone in my tehillim on our wedding day, please leave me a comment or e-mail me at with names.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Chuppah here we come!

Baruch Hashem. Six days. It seems like a million years since the day this happened (the good friend in that post was none other than PHD).

I can't believe it. We didn't get a hurricane. My cold is almost gone. Hopefully the cold that I managed to give PHD will be gone before Shabbos. And even more so I am praying that LO won't get it as well. Everything on my gazillions of checklists is complete except for going to the mikvah and buying kiddush wine.

Life is good.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

You eat shrimp?

We were visiting PHD's 93-year old mother at the independent living facility where she lives. We happened to see a friend of ours there who's mother also lives there. (This friend also happens to be a Reform Rabbi.) They were sitting in the dining room and motioned for us to come and sit with them while they waited for their food. We sat, talked about the wedding, talked about LO starting school, etc.

Then the food came.

The server placed a plate of chicken and shrimp in front of our friend.

Before the plate was completely on the table, LO exclaimed, "Rabbi, how could you? How can you be a Rabbi and eat SHRIMP? Oh my gosh - you are going to have to fast for a lot of days for Yom Kippur...." This went on and on until I literally had to tell her to stop talking.

Oh yeah, that is my little kosher police. Gotta love that.

(But I guess that now might be a good time to explain the differences in observance level for Reform Jews and the more observant ones.)

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Tooth Fairy doesn't work on Shabbos

When I picked LO up from school on Friday she eagerly showed me that she had lost a tooth. She was very excited because as I've reported before, the tooth fairy at our house pays BIG. However, with Shabbos here, there was no further mention of it and it totally slipped my mind.

On Shabbos morning when I went downstairs LO (with the saddest face in the world) said, "The tooth fairy didn't take my tooth." Having not had an ounce of coffee yet, I gave her all sorts of lame excuses, none that she seemed to buy, but she eventually just went back to her room. A little while later she came out and said, "I know why the tooth fairy didn't take my tooth! The tooth fairy doesn't work on Shabbos!" Geez...why didn't I think of that excuse?