The night of the Jewish “Valentine’s Day” -15th of the month of Av (Tu B’Av, August 11/12, 2014) is a popular day for weddings. It is the night of a full moon.
We had no ready- made Chupa and had to build it by ourselves. Three of the people holding the Chupa are Jews by choice that have just converted in the same group with the couple (one of them in the former Beit Din).
Nachszon and Tamar (formally Krzysztof and Aneta) chose to stand under the Chupah (wedding canopy), under the full moon Sunday night in our synagogue, Beit Warszawa.
It was a special time not only for them but for Progressive Jews in Poland, i.e. the whole community of Beit Polska. Their wedding was the climax of their journey to Judaism – their individual and joint journey which began almost two years ago and continued in May 2014 at the Beit Din (formal welcoming) and Mikvah (ritual immersion in water) in Krakow. A few days later both Tamar and Nachszon were called to the Torah, and each chanted their Aliyah (their assigned reading).
As part of the ‘Step by Step’ course led by Rabbi Gil Nativ (rabbi of Beit Warszawa) Tamar and Nachszon learned about our Jewish heritage and experienced it during Shabbat and Holidays prayers and weekly activities in our synagogue.
Over 60 people welcomed the newlywed couple with the singing of “Od Yishama BeArey Yehuda Uv’chutzot Jerushalayim :Kol Sasson V’kol Simchah , Kol Chatan v’Kol Kala…”
Dear Tamar and Nachshon,It is a great honor and privilege to officiate in your wedding. This is the first time I officiate in a wedding ceremony in Poland. I hope that I am taking tonight a “Nachshonite leap” and that many more Polish-Jewish couples will follow in your footsteps…I am especially privileged since both of you are ‘Jews by Choice’ –You decided to join our people even though you live in a country where Jews are only a tiny remnant of a large, vibrant community. Your decision to build a Jewish home and bring up your future children with Jewish values and traditions is ‘a light at the end of a tunnel’. By your building up the Jewish future in this country you complete your integration into our people.
You, Aneta, chose the Hebrew name Tamar, and you, Krzysztof, chose the name, Nachshon. Tamar is the Biblical matriarch of the tribe of Judah, a gentile woman who had an amazing determination to give birth to the two sons of Judah, Peretz and Zerach. Tamar is also the Hebrew name for the palm tree which produces dates. The ancient rabbis decided that the Tamar tree symbolizes our people since it has only one trunk which grows directly upward rather than branches growing to different directions… I never argue with Talmudic symbolism, but in my view it describes a wishful thinking of how the Jewish people should look like and behave… Nachshon is also a famous name in the Judean dynasty. He lived only a few generations after Tamar. His name became equivalent to a leader who is not afraid to take the lead even at the risk of life. According to rabbinic tradition he was the first to leap into the Sea of Reeds, and only when the water reached his chin, the miracle of splitting the sea happened…
Finally, I have a request: In future years, when you celebrate your wedding anniversary, do not celebrate it on the 10th of August, but rather on the night between 14th and 15th day of Av. Celebrating your wedding anniversary according to the Hebrew calendar will ensure that you will always enjoy a full, romantic moon on your joyous wedding anniversaries.