Celebrate December 2013

Destination Weddings, With A Jewish Twist, Flowing Cups Freshly Remember’d, Israeli Artists Heighten Simcha’s Meaning, ‘If You Can Move, You Can Dance’

Celebrate December 2013

‘If You Can Move, You Can Dance’

Teaneck dance instructor (the former Miss Motion) often leads, but sometimes follows.

Culture Editor

Weeknights in Teaneck, a high school gym is transformed into a make-believe ballroom, as couples circle around the floor, waltzing or doing the tango or a fox trot to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon.” The instructor, a magical dancer named Lauren Faustini, gently guides them, adjusting their stance, and sometimes preventing them from colliding.

Lauren Faustini with her husband, Gus Faustini.

Thank you to our advertisers for supporting our Celebrate issue. Please look at this additional information in their own words. Look out for our next Celebrate issue on June 13, 2014


The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA) of Brooklyn, New York
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Israeli Artists Heighten Simcha’s Meaning

More affordable options now available for bar/bat mitzvah gifts with religious significance.

Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — As bar- and bat-mitzvah celebrations have become more sophisticated and often more costly over the years, so too have many of the gifts. While many 12- and 13-year-olds continue to welcome pocketknives or a piece of jewelry, it’s not unusual for the celebrant to request an iPod or contributions toward a tablet or new computer. 

Dvora Black creates bar- and bat-mitzvah portraits with photograph and a dedication in Hebrew.

Flowing Cups Freshly Remember’d

Reflections on the wine at a wine writer’s wedding.

Special To The Jewish Week

In the eight years that I’ve written The Jewish Week’s Fruit of the Vine column, I have, as a rule, not brought my personal life into the column; not because I am against that style of writing, but because I don’t think that my rather dull, mid-management life would be of much interest to Jewish Week readers. However, for this column I have decided to make an exception.

Three of the wines suitable for a wine writer’s wedding ceremony/reception.

If You’re Thinking Of Tying The Knot Abroad

Special To The Jewish Week

♦ Plan to marry in a civil ceremony in the U.S., preferably before departing for the religious ceremony. After a destination wedding, you may be married in the eyes of God, but not according to city hall. Most foreign countries have red tape that makes legal marriage for foreigners difficult or outright impossible. This ranges from lengthy waiting periods — for witnesses as well as bride and groom — to blood tests and  citizenship requirements. In many countries, the legal officiate must be a representative of the local government — or even of the state church!

Destination Weddings, With A Jewish Twist

Picturesque outdoor chupahs, from Cyrus to Spain to the Yucatan.

Travel Writer

Jews have a certain advantage when it comes to wedding geography: all you need is a chupah and a rabbi.

“In ancient times, the wedding was outdoors,” notes Rabbi Barbara Aiello, an Italian-American rabbi who leads a congregation in Calabria, Italy and officiates at weddings throughout Southern Europe.

A wedding on the beach at the supposed birthplace of Aphrodite, in Cyprus. Photo courtesy of Alexandra Zimakova

Covering All The Bases

Drawn to its symbolism, non-Jews are increasingly getting married under the chupah.

Special To The Jewish Week

When Lorelei Gilmore, the unwed Connecticut mother on the award-winning sitcom, “Gilmore Girls,” was about to tie the knot in a 2001 episode, she was astonished to see her friend, Luke, drag an elaborate wooden chupah onto her lawn. She reminded him that neither she nor the groom, Max, was Jewish. “Don’t you have to be Jewish to get married under one of these?” she asked, gesturing to the structure, with its hand-carved images of birds, flowers and a sacrificial goat. “Won’t God smite us?”

A non-Jewish couple under the chupah in Austin, Texas. Sarah Q. Photography

Latter-Day Fashion

A Modern Orthodox bride searches long and hard for appropriate bridesmaids’ dresses.

Special To The Jewish Week

We’ve all seen the movies.

In “27 Dresses,” Katherine Heigl parades around in a series of truly hideous bridesmaid dresses, each one puffier, shinier and more ungaptchka than the last. In “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the well-intentioned cousin reveals a sky-blue taffeta monstrosity with a mermaid frill and a plunging neckline.

The author’s sisters, and bridesmaids, Hannah Zuber, Aviva Gomberg and Zoe Gomberg.

It Still Takes A Village

In crowdsourcing for weddings, new methods for an old idea.


When Amanda Melpolder began planning her wedding to Jeff Greenberg, she hoped the ceremony would be unlike others.

Melpolder had become involved in an independent minyan in Brooklyn after converting to Judaism several years ago, and she and Greenberg wanted their wedding this June to reflect the prayer group’s community spirit and sense of do-it-yourself camaraderie.

Ned and Nahanni Lazarus standing under the chupah. Photo courtesy Nahanni Rous
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