So last weekend, while Aviva and I were still down in Cherry Hill during Passover, we had an Aufruf at the Chabad Aviva's family goes to. For those of you who do not know, an Aufruf is a special ceremony that occurs before the wedding where the Katan (the groom, that's me) gets called up to the Torah for an Aliyah (an honor), which in this case is to bless one part of the weeks Torah portion before it is read. After the portion is read, the groom dances around the Torah with the reader and other people on the bima, while everyone in the congregation throws candy at them.
It sounds a bit silly, and honestly, I had always thought that it was. But last weekend, it wasn't. It was ... indescribable. Not some kind of tremendous, spectacularly beautiful feeling but rather a warm, full stomach, jolly sort of feeling ... but the best one you can imagine. I just felt really belonging and really loved, it was great.
I was sitting in shul with my future-in-laws; Bucky (Aviva's dad), Josh and Larry (Aviva's brother and brother-in-law) and Pappa Stranger (Aviva's grandfather), Marley and Dylan (Aviva's nephews) with me on the men's side and Aviva, her mother Tanya, aunt Irene sister Rachel, sister-in-law Debbie, and neice Samara on the womens side, and as I said, it was incredible. Before we got to the Torah service, Rabbi Mengele, who is a true mensch (we have spoken a couple times) and a good friend of the Buchmans, gave a really warm and generous speech about marriage and love and also about Bucky and Tanya. It was really nice.
Soon after the sermon, we got to the Torah service and Bucky, Pappa, and I all said I said the blessing over the Torah, while Larry and Josh held, dressed and walked the Torah's around the synagogue. When it got to my aliyah, I went up to the bima and said the blessing (quite robustly I am told) and a young guy, actually the son of one of Bucky's doctors, read the short section of the parshat I had blessed, and then, with the reader, Mende the Rabbi, another guy and Bucky and Larry, we danced around the Torah under a hail of candy.
After the ten minute candy hora I came down off the bima and was greeted by almost everyone on the mans side with their hands out, "Yasher koach", "Mazel Tov" ... it was great. The service finished about an hour later, seemed a lot faster, and then we spent a wonderful couple of hours
The whole experience was simply warm, joyous and wonderful. Being Jewish ... it's awesome.