When I was a junior in college, my dear friends Ellen and David, who were graduating seniors, got married in their home town of Cleveland, Ohio. I was invited to their wedding, which took place in what, to me, seemed a very strange location. It was a large banquet hall, nothing like the church settings I was used to.
Great joy filled the hall, however, bringing the same spirit that I had experienced at Christian weddings. I was intrigued by many things that evening, including a canopy under which they wed, and a glass that David stomped on while everyone cheered.
The best part of the evening for me, however, was the singing and dancing after the ceremony. While David and Ellen were hoisted up on chairs and carried around the room, the band began to play. It was my first, though not at all my last, introduction to the wonderful tune “Hava Nagila.” I tried in vain to find a good link to this tune, but came up short. If you don’t know the song, I encourage you to find a copy of it.
As the music played, and as we all sang along, we formed a long snaking line and danced the hora around the room. I mumbled along with the words, imitating the sounds I heard. The dance steps were easier since I had done a lot of folk dancing in high school.
Many years later, I attended a wedding of a dear friend, marrying for the first time in her early 40’s. It was in an equally secular setting, this time the Oregon Forestry Center. But when the band struck up the tune “Hava Nagila”, we all joined hands and sang and danced and sang and danced. Celebrating the joy of life. Love may have come late, but it had at last arrived.