Monday, May 4, 2009

The freaking rabbi

{And here is where I have to take a moment and get all negative in the midst of this beautiful story. As I've written about on this blog, we had a rabbi from Brooklyn lined up to marry us. He knew my family for many years and we were looking forward to him sealing our union. A month before our wedding, his brother had a stroke. He became his brother's primary caretaker which made it very difficult for him to get away. He assured us that if we couldn't find another rabbi, he would step in and do it. So we started looking. We focused our search on New York, Miami and the Bahamas, three places that have direct flights to Turks&Caicos. Because our wedding was so close to Passover, most rabbis said no. When we looked into who performs most of the Jewish weddings in Nassau, Bahamas, we found it was a rabbi in Miami. We spoke to him on the phone several times and he seemed fine. He had done like 2000 weddings, he seemed to know the drill.

When he arrived in T&C on Sunday, we were waiting for him in the lobby. The front desk person at Gansevoort said "we didn't have a wheelchair for him so the airline provided one for him to use for 2 days." That's...odd. He never mentioned he was in a wheelchair and you'd think that would be something he'd be concerned with. He arrives and homeboy is wearing a black baseball hat that says "RABBI" in bold white letters. O-k.

We take him to lunch and I have a fairly immediate visceral reaction to him. First off, he doesn't need the wheelchair, was just feeling lazy. Then, he tells us some wacko, convoluted story about visiting Petra, Egypt and how much the border guards loved his wife's breasts. I mean, honestly. The breast story goes on and on.

He's rude to the waitstaff, complaining that his fries are cold despite the fact that he ate his burger while, um, his fries got cold. Hello. They actually reheat his fries for him.

We talk a little about the ceremony and we tell him we're looking to keep it fairly traditional. He tells us that when it's time to drink from the wine cup under the chuppah, IC should try to take a sip first so that he can remind him to always let me have the first sip from this point on. Uh, no. IC and I look at each other secure in the knowledge he'll be giving me the first sip.

But whatever, what are we gonna do? This is the only rabbi currently on the island. When he later hits on the beach sports girl or asks our wedding planner to take a shower with him, I can barely contain my disgust. I hate this man. Hate.

Anyway, he actually gives a decent ceremony, telling a story about creation and tying it to the time period of our wedding. We recite our vows and everything is going ok. Then, the rabbi tells IC that he will whisper in his ear what he is to say next into the microphone, what he will be saying to me for the rest of his life. The rabbi whispers something and IC says "yes, dear" into the mic.

Hi, I'm Karol, most of my friends are male and I don't do bullshit gender role jokes. I look at the rabbi and say "that's enough." I'm told I made a motion with my hand across my neck to say "cut" but I don't really remember, can't wait to see the vid! He says "that's enough?" I repeat "that's enough." To his credit, he cuts the shit and completes the ceremony. We're married!!! He calls me Karen somewhere near the end but we're too delirious with happiness to care. Many people tell me later that they loved that I cut him off, that so many rabbis think they're also stand-up comedians and that my cutting him off was so me. I appreciate that, but I do wish it didn't have to happen.}


  1. The rabbi was such a character! I thought he did a very good ceremony, especially the part re planets aligning. The fries and wheelchair story made me laugh (although YOU clearly weren't laughing). Not that it lessens the inappropriateness of hitting on the women, but he's not married.

  2. You don't want a rabbi you've never met before to be "a character" while performing a ceremony for you.


  3. It's supposed to be good luck if it rains on your wedding. *Surely* there's some equivalent superstition about it being lucky to have a nutjob for a rabbi.

  4. Not that it lessens the inappropriateness of hitting on the women, but he's not married.What?!?! I'm fairly sure he is married. He referred to his wife several times in conversation, and not just about her breasts.

  5. He only wears the wedding ring when he does weddings. They got divorced cuz she cheated on him... yeeeeah (F talked to him afterwards).

  6. He only wears the wedding ring when he does weddings. They got divorced cuz she cheated on him... yeeeeah (F talked to him afterwards).NO WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. That is just, wow.

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