Feb 24, 2008

Australian Parliament House to host its first Jewish wedding

Jehane Sharah
February 24, 2008

Workplace wedding ... Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby is tying the knot at Parliament House.
Workplace wedding ... Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby is tying the knot at Parliament House.

Mr Danby (pictured), the member for Melbourne Ports, will tie the knot with long-time partner Amanda Mendes Da Costa. Mr Danby insists he chose to wed in Canberra because of its central location, not because of the strict work ethic laid down by leader Kevin Rudd. "Michael has friends from all over the country ... [Canberra] seemed a nice, central place," Mr Danby's spokeswoman said. In a traditional ceremony, the bedecken - veiling ceremony - will take place in the Marble Hall, with the chuppah - traditional Jewish wedding canopy - erected at the Queens Terrace. Presiding over the ceremony will be rabbis Reisenberg, Rubinfeld and Gutnick. Dinner will follow in the Mural Hall, with two truckloads of kosher catering being driven from Melbourne to feed guests.About 200 people are expected to attend, including Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Ms Mendes Da Costa, who is of Jewish descent, recently converted to the faith. Mr Danby's spokeswoman said the couple had paid the full cost of the wedding.

The newlyweds will honeymoon briefly on Victoria's Surf Coast before Mr Danby gets back to business.

Source: The Sun-Herald

Feb 4, 2008

Knitted Chuppah

This amazingly beautiful Knitted Chuppah, featured in the summer '07 issue of Interweave Knits Magazine, was made by Kat Coyle. Chuppah, which symbolizes the new home the couple standing under it is about to create, in Hebrew means a covering, and according to some Jewish traditions refers to a wrapping garment or a veil. (You'll find some couples will wrap themselves in a Tallit while under the Chuppah to include this interpretation of the word Chuppah, as well.) This knitted Chuppah gives one a warm, cozy feel as if one was wrapped in the fabric, and the white is simply illuminating.

Here's a photo of another Knitted Chuppah, this one from mayarn.com.

Jan 21, 2008

Under the Chuppah - Berlin

If you really want to stand under a Chuppah but just can't seem to get the opportunity, either because you aren't Jewish or because you still haven't found the right chuppmate, and say you find yourself in Berlin, Germany, stop by the Judische Museum there which hosts an interactive exhibit that's open on all four sides. You can stand under this installation, pictured above, one of the many exhibits of the Jewish Museum that catalog Jewish Life in Germany over the past 1000 years, and listen to Jewish wedding music. You might have to share the Chuppah, though, with another museum visitor. (You don't have to go home with him/her.)

The Museum's Glass Courtyard and Old Building, a view from the Museum Garden

You can also get a panoramic glimpse of the museum from under the Chuppah at rundbild.com.

Bridal Inspirations: Basia Zarzycka, London, UK

Most of us can't afford a gown commission from Basia Zarzycka, a London based independent designer with clients ranging from foreign Royalty to international pop stars and some of the biggest names in Hollywood - her custom gown orders start at 10,000 British Pounds, and go as high as... well, there's really no limit. The truth is that not everyone will even want to adorn themselves in the eccentric, incredibly over the top style that is Basia's signature. Her timeless, unusual work, her one-of-a-kind fabrics, minute details, and magical accessories, however, are just perfect when you're looking for wedding inspiration... and all of us are.

Basia in her shop amidst her accouterments.

Basia Zarzycka's Shop in Sloane Square, London.

Dress Detail

Vintage Accessories

Who says a wedding gown should be white?

To be further enchanted, visit Basia's website at basia-zarzycka.com.

Jung Lee - Fete: The Wedding Experience

From: Daily News NY

Make your wedding unforgettable in every way

Sunday, January 20th 2008

Cohen Starr Gruber

In this Jung Lee-designed wedding, the color scheme of the chuppah was tied together by a charm that commemorated the groom's late mother.

You can rifle through magazines and visit hundreds of venues, but to have the wedding of your dreams, the inspiration has to come from within.

It can't hurt, though, to have a topnotch wedding planner Jung Lee, owner of Fete, one of the most sought-after wedding planning companies in the country.

"You've got the most important people in your lives together for a few hours - it's a spectacular opportunity," says Lee, whose company has created fantasy weddings for a host of New Yorkers over the past five years.

Now Lee, who works on 15 big-budget weddings each year, is sharing her secrets with those planning their own big day in the new book "Fete: The Wedding Experience" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $45), released this month.

"When I talk about a fantasy wedding, I'm not talking about big, puffy evening gowns," she explains.

"I mean, what do you want your guests to remember? You really want to indulge all five senses - what they see, taste, hear, touch and smell."

That's just what she did at the New York wedding of Dr. Christopher Starr and his bride Lauren. Attention was paid to every detail, especially when it came to the ceremony, where the couple were married under a chuppah.

"The chuppah signifies a new home and all the loved ones are underneath. People who aren't Jewish think it's such a lovely notion that they embrace it," says Lee of the mixed-faith couple.

For decoration, she chose a fresh garden-themed color scheme. "The wedding was in mid-May, so we used dogwood and really took advantage of all that spring blossoms had to offer."

The green theme matched the peace sign talisman that hung in the chuppah. "Christopher's mom had passed away and that peace sign was something she kept by his crib. The idea was to have his mom under [the] chuppah with him."

The personal touches carried through to the reception. "Lauren loved cocktail parties, so we took that idea further by creating lots of vignettes of seating and samplings of their favorite foods, like lobster rolls and a seafood tower.

"We had a vodka bar with lots of different infusions where people could learn more about different vodkas," recalls Lee, who added a special gift for the morning after.

"Because they knew the party was going to go on until the early hours of the morning, they didn't want to wake guests for a formal breakfast. Instead, guests felt pampered with a little sign on their door letting them know they'd get breakfast delivered to their room. The next morning, there was a bag of coffees and pastries from Balthazar, with a copy of The New York Times at their door. They didn't have to go anywhere."

Jan 17, 2008

Get Your Daisy Path

We're sure you're counting down to the big day. So is your fiance. With DaisyPath tickers, available free at DaisyPath.com, you can share your countdown with others as well. These customizable tickers are just so adorable. You can upload a picture to appear alongside your daisy path, and customize the wording to fit your lingo. You can make a ticker for any lifecycle event and put them into your personal website, wedding blog, or forum sig.

Here's an example daisy path A.J.W. made.

DaisypathWedding Ticker

Jan 13, 2008

Make - Up Basics

By Debby Grossman

You've got to look your best for the Big day. Learning how to apply your make-up properly is important now more than ever. It can, however, be difficult and time-consuming. Here are the most common beauty mistakes that women make, and how to avoid them.

Skipping foundation. Although many people dislike the feel of a full face of makeup, an even base creates the perfect canvas for the rest of your color makeup. Heavy, cakey foundation is a thing of the past; with tinted moisturizers, sheer formulas and finely milled powders, you won’t even feel like you’re wearing makeup.
The key is to find the texture that is right for your skin type. If your skin is dry, try a sheer or moisturizing tint that you can actually use instead of your regular moisturizer.. Normal to oily skin types should stick with powder textures.
Concealer that is too light. If you have dark under-eye circles, the biggest mistake you can make is to choose the wrong color concealer. A good under-eye concealer should match the rest of your skin. Many people pick one that is too light to overcompensate for the darkness, which actually looks unnatural.
If you have blue or purple undertones under your eyes, choose a concealer that is peachy to counteract the darkness. Again, the under-eye area should be uniform in color with the rest of the skin, so avoid one that looks too white or light on the skin.
Wearing the wrong foundation color. Although you may be tempted to wear a foundation that is a little bit darker than your natural skin tone, the result can look mask-like. Think about it: If you wear a base that is too dark, the rest of your body will not match your face.
If you insist on adding a little bit of color to your face, choose a foundation that matches your natural skin tone exactly, and add warmth with a blush or bronzer. If you decide to use a bronzer, place the color on the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead to mimic a natural tan.
Not taking care of your skin. Many of us don’t have the time or energy to take proper care of our skin, but the results will eventually catch up to you. By starting a good skincare regimen, you will keep your skin healthy while preventing premature signs of aging. Use a moisturizer with an SPF daily to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. In addition, many people with oily skin think they don’t need a moisturizer.

Read More here...

Jan 2, 2008

A First for Cyprus: A Traditional Jewish Wedding

If you are in the remotest of locations around the globe, you can be sure that there is a Chabad House near by where you'll find answers and solutions for all your Jewish needs. Here's an article from Chabad.org that illustrates the many different aspects of Chabad House activities. The article describes Rabbi Arie Zeev Raskin's involvement in organizing a Jewish wedding on the island of Cyprus.

Chaim Harrari is lifted in a chair as Rabbi Arie Zeev Raskin, third from left, and others celebrate his Cypriot wedding.
Chaim Harrari is lifted in a chair as Rabbi Arie Zeev Raskin, third from left, and others celebrate his Cypriot wedding.

Tamar Runyan
Jan 1, 2008

A series of providential occurrences culminated last month in a traditional Jewish wedding on the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus.

Every year, many Israelis make the short trip by air to Cyprus in order to elope and circumvent their country's legal sanctions on weddings that stipulate that all marital unions occur according to the dictates of Jewish law.

But according to presiding Rabbi Arie Zeev Raskin, director of the Cyprus Jewish Community Centre in Larnaca, the Nov. 29 wedding of Chaim and Segal Harrari was the country's first-ever traditional ceremony – adhering to all of Judaism's strictures – that he knows of. He bought the chuppah used for the wedding just six month ago, although he had no idea it would ever be used.

"I bought it just in case," he revealed.

A Chabad House regular in Larnaca, businessman Chaim Harari met his bride during a visit to Israel. Right before then, he said, he had a quiet moment with G‑d on the occasion of his first marriage's dissolution.

Standing by his house along the water, Harari implored G‑d to help him find another mate, because it was "impossible" to find Jewish women in Cyprus.

"What do you want? That I should marry a non-Jew?" he said he challenged G‑d that day.

On the advice of his friend, he went to Israel and "met someone I felt was a friend I hadn't seen for 30 years, a life partner." She was divorced, as well.

A year later, he proposed and in the course of telling Raskin the good news, the rabbi suggested a date two months from then.

"They closed the circle at the Chabad House," remarked Raskin, who taught the groom the laws of family purity, while his wife Shaindel taught the bride.

Chaim Harari insists without a doubt that he is "a believing man," and saw special importance in the date of his recent wedding: It occurred on the 19th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, the day that the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, was released from prison. Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidim all over the globe celebrate the day as a joyous holiday.

At the ceremony, a visiting Israeli couple who just happened to be in the area walked the bride and groom down the aisle after they revealed that the male of the pair was descended from a line of Jewish priests known as kohanim. Fifty other guests watched the wedding take place just outside of the Chabad House.

"In my dream of dreams, I could never have imagined such a wedding, a Jewish wedding according to the tradition of Moses," said Harari.

Chaim and Segal Harari now live in the Israeli suburb of Ramat Gan with her two sons, aged 8 and 10. His three children live not too far away with their mother.

"We have a big family," he said proudly. "We had to buy a car with seven seats!"

Dec 30, 2007

Jeff and Natasha's Wedding Invitation

Ah, the joys of wedding planning!

Wedding planning's taking its toll on you. This video may cheer you up. It's an actual video wedding invitation that is also an animated reminder of how some things can get out of hand. In the clip, Jeff and Natasha are trying to select their wedding invite. Natasha is the star and she tries to come up with the perfect wedding invitation.

"We burned this animation onto DVD's and sent it out as our actual wedding invitation. It took nine months to complete, and was produced entirely as part of a group project class at the Art Institute of California - San Francisco where I'm an instructor of animation." - says Jeff, who posted the video on YouTube.


Dec 25, 2007

You Break It - They Fix It

As you know, for the grand finale of your Jewish Wedding ceremony you're going to smash a glass by stomping it with your foot. (It has been said, that it is the last time you're going to put your foot down.) The crowd will be waiting to hear that glass shatter - they know it's their cue to shout 'Mazel Tov' in unison.

Have you ever thought about saving those glass shards as a keepsake of that wonderful moment, the exact second that your ceremony was complete? But, what will you do with shards of glass?

This is where the crafty folks at MazelTovGlass.com come in. What they do is give you a special hand blown glass to break under the Chuppah; afterwards you ship the shards back to them (make sure to write 'Fragile' on the box.) MazelTovGlass then molds them back together with clear glass for an unique Mazel Tove Glass Heirloom. Whole again and better than ever. (At least until the time your kids will get to it.) They offer many design options and colors. You could make a vase, wine glasses, or fruit bowl. Take a look at their site for more info.

Here are just some examples of the finished product:

Dec 23, 2007

Star of David Place-cards

Many modern couples find that flaunting the 'oh-so-obvious' Jewish symbols is a bit cliche. But with the recent Heeb hype, some folks (especially younger ones) like to show off their stars. For these, as well as the more traditional folk that find affinity in all Jewish symbols, these 'Star of David' place-cards (that guests can take home with them) might be of great interest. They are available at Moments of Elegance.

Lisa and Dave's fun NYC Wedding

Lisa and Dave's fun NYC Wedding

Have you ever heard of a groom eating a carrot at the altar? Find out why he does this at Lisa and Dave's spectacular and fun New York City wedding ceremony!

Dress: redesigned by Alex Teih

Band: Peter Greco

Flowers: Flowers of the World

Photography & Videography: J Michaels photography

Catering: Abigael's

Reception venue: Museum of Jewish Heritage

Dec 22, 2007

Destination Jewish Weddings

When it comes to Destination Jewish Weddings, Israel is overwhelmingly the place where Jewish couples choose to tie the knot. Some of the more traditional couples are attracted by the idea of having the Western Wall in the background when they are standing under the Cuppah, which is possible with a number of rooftop locations in the Old City.

For some couples it's a matter of practicality, since many of their friends and relatives may reside in Israel or Europe. There's also the weather. Between April and October, Israel receives virtually zero rainfall, which makes weather issues a non issue. Other couples that are primarily interested in the exotique know that there are no shortages of dazzling and breathtaking venues in Israel. With views of the Mediterranean ocean, the Dead Sea, or the Red Sea, and in places like Ein Gedi or Eilat, Israel abounds with settings for exciting and unique wedding ceremonies and receptions.

How about a Kibbutz?

A very popular destination for Tourists and Israelis alike is the Havat Ronit Kibbutz. With large, spacious ground, this location lends itself to a variety of moods. Day or night, indoors or outdoors, Havat Ronit has the capacity and also the staff to create a wedding to remember. Here are some images to give you a glimpse.

Dec 19, 2007

Jewish wedding ceremony - Found on Flickr

There are many articles online describing the proceedings at a Jewish wedding. As you very well know, however, a picture tells a thousand words. Here's a visual overview of the main elements of a Jewish wedding. (All images are compiled from Flickr.com)

Ketubah is signed before the ceremony. In this picture, one of the two witnesses is signing the Ketubah.

Following the completion of the Ketubah and amidst vivacious (except for Liubavitch Chassidim who sing the Alter's nigun) singing and dancing, the Groom is lead to the Bride for the Bedeken - the Veiling ceremony, whereupon he will place her veil over her face.

After the Badeken, its time to walk down the isle to the Chuppah, which is symbolic of the new couple's new home that will have its conception here. The image below is of the groom (who is wearing a white Kittel) being waked by his parents with candles in their hands to the Chuppah.

Under the Chuppah, the Bride walks around the Groom seven times.

At this point we're going to need some wine. Wine is used for the blessings recited under the Chuppah by officiating Rabbi and some honored guests.

A Chuppah can be nothing more than a Tallis held up by four poles (as in the image below), under which on of the relatives is saying a blessing in Hebrew over a cup filled with wine.

The Bride and the Groom are given to drink from the Cup with the blessed wine.

All that's left to complete the ceremony is to break a glass as a sign that the destroyed Temple is always in a Jew's heart. The glass cracks at exactly the same instant as the guests scream out 'Mazel Tov' (perhaps it's the other way around.)

...MAZEL TOV!!!! Let the party start!

Dec 18, 2007

Shmeltzer / Neginah Hora

This video features Lipa Shmeltzer, a star on the chassidic music scene known for a variety of music styles that includes rap and techno among others, doing more or less the 'Standard Second Dance' - (second music set at a Jewish wedding, usually reserved for those who have not died out after the first dance.) This video is quite representative of the tempo of Jewish wedding music. It's fast. Sport photographers, who are pro at capturing fast action, would probably have a hard time shooting at these speeds. This video is from an orthodox Jewish wedding, hence the separate dancing for men and women.

This is another video with Lipa. This one is from a wedding in London. In this clip Lipa is performing his own stuff and it looks more like a concert than a wedding.

Dec 17, 2007

Booking a Wedding Hall Starts with...

Location, Location, Location. Three words that ring true when it comes to virtually any business or event. Weddings are no different. Planning a wedding generally begins with its location. There are, however, more ways than one to find the right venue. The more or less standard approach is to run through the locally advertised wedding halls and settle on the one that most closely resembles what the couple had expected based on their (somewhat limited) experience with weddings. If the couple is looking for a strictly Kosher wedding hall, these choices are even more limited. (A comprehensive list of Kosher wedding halls can be found on ChossonKallah.com.)

Other coulples begin their search for the perfect setting through their caterer. A caterer will generally have a broader menu selection than a standard wedding hall, and will pay more attention to food display as well. (Although, it must be noted that an inquiring and informed consumer can have his or her requirements accommodated by most halls, should he or she directly, and in detail, express them to the hall administrator.) A caterer will usually have a few exclusive locations where it operates, but will also have a larger list of venues that it has worked at. Almost any non-kosher venue can be Kashered (made kosher) by a professional caterer. (A list of Kosher caterers can be found on koshercaterers.info.)

Some of the more edgy couples, who like to be totally and utterly original, will let their imagination run wild and will scout out a location that is, shall we say, completely 'raw'. Any place - given sufficient funds and creativity, can be transformed into a breathtaking and unique wedding venue. Here, a wedding planner's assistance will be of necessity. A wedding planner will have experience in 'dressing up' rooms and metamorphosing raw and untamed landscape into beautifully lit, tastefully decorated, and overall put-together event settings.

Whichever way you will go about creating the appropriate stage for your wedding, first identify your needs, wants, and priorities, like kashrus standards and financial constraints, then set your sights on the location that's right for you using a method that's right for you. But remember to keep your mind OPEN.

Dec 12, 2007

Ketubah - Signing the Marriage Contract

At every Jewish wedding, a marriage contract, Ketubah, is signed by the groom, bride, and witnesses. The Ketubah outlines the basic financial (and otherwise) obligations of the husband to his wife and the amount of money he will owe the woman he is about to marry in case he'll decide to untie the knot he's about to tie. One might say that such matters are not apropos at a time like this. The sages of the Talmud, who instituted the Ketubah, believed that security that comes with the Ketubah contract only woks to further strengthen the bond that is in the process of being formed. In fact, it was prohibited to finalize the wedding ceremony without a Ketubah contract. In most Orthodox circles, Ketubah is read under the Chuppah by an honored guest. Throughout history, the Ketubah document was very adorned and skillfull calligraphy was applied when drafting it. Some hang it up on their wall as wall art and a memento of their wedding.

A Centuries old Ketubah From Portugal

Here are some random images of the Ketubah being signed at various Jewish weddings.

Planning a Wedding with 20,000 Guests

If you are a leader of one of the largest Chassidic group in the world and your daughter is planning a wedding, you have to think big...No bigger than that. No, really BIG.

First you'll need to find a venue that would accommodate an unpredictable amount of people that belong to your Chassidic group, lets say 10,000 to 20,000 people that would love to share the wedding joy of their beloved Rebbe. In addition to the Bobover Chassidic community of Boro Park, thousands from Antwerp, Lakewood, London, Monsey, Montreal, Toronto, Williamsburg, and elsewhere will be in attendance. And of course, you can expect another couple of thousand people who are likely to drop by just to see what a twenty thousand people wedding looks like.

The Venue

Floyd Bennett Field, the no-longer-in-use airfield adjacent to the Marine Parkway Bridge in South Brooklyn was the venue of choice for this couple. The airfield’s two gargantuan cement runways, each nearly one-mile long, were the largest in the world when built in 1929. The airfield and its hangars are likely the largest usable open spaces, both indoors and out, in New York City today.

When your wedding is of such proportions, it is, for all intents and purposes, a concert. (And if you don't do it right, it may very well turn into a cirus, too.) It is not exactly clear, though, who the audience is. Are they the friends and family, are they the guests (invited and the uninvited). Shall you want to find out, browse the videos for this wedding on YouTube.com and you'll see that the roles change and everyone is entertained at some point and time.

A Father / Daughter moment


For this event, which by the way, took place on May 27, 2007, not one, not two, not even three photo crews were commissioned to photograph the happenings of the day. No, it took five photography teams to document this affair. Hirsh Rosner Studio of Boro Park was the leader of photography pack, who, by the way, has plenty of such weddings in his porfolio.


On the bright side, when you are a leader of a huge Chassidic group there are plenty of helpers (and those helpers have more helpers...) to take care of every single detail of the event planning - no wedding planner necessary.