Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Pi Day and wedding update


Little did I know this morning that there are people who celebrate Pi Day. Some of them frequent MathematiciansPictures.com, where they also sell silly mathematical merchandise. I apologize for missing the Pi Drop, which was on 3/14 at 1:59 PM. (I know: That’s groan-worthy. Then again, it's no sillier than October 10 being International Metric Day.)

I’ve finally written up something on the wedding last Monday. Here goes:

Monday: Mom and I fly up to Newark. From the airport we take a rental car to Monsey/Spring Valley/Nanuet (they all blend into each other) without getting seriously lost. Having arrived significantly before the 3 PM hotel check-in time, we went to Tuvia’s, a Jewish bookstore. They have enough stuff there that Mom and I were both dazzled. I went looking for plastic covers for the set of tefillin I have been using since this summer (formerly my late grandfather’s), but didn’t find appropriate ones. I ended up buying a small siddur (prayer book) and a copy of ’Ayil Meshullash, a geometry book written by my probable ancestor R. ’Eliyyahu ben Shelomoh (the Vilna Ga’on). Mom seemed more interested in the ritual objects. We both could have probably spent days in there looking over what they had. Afterwards we went to a local pizza shop for lunch; it was the first time I had had pizza since Hanukkah. We checked in at the hotel. We rested a little and got ready for the wedding.

Unfortunately, the trip to the wedding was highly stressful. The road signs in New Jersey leave much to be desired in visibility, and so we ended up getting significantly lost. After stopping to ask for directions twice, we got to the wedding seven minutes before it was supposed to to start (and missing most of the reception beforehand) by ignoring the directions and instead using a map and brute-force logic.

The wedding itself was very much along Orthodox Jewish lines, with the emphasis on making sure everything was done correctly rather than what my intuition insists on calling “embroidery”. (Not to say there wasn’t “embroidery”; it just wasn’t the focus. I thought the parents of the bride and groom carrying candles as they accompanied their children to the huppah (wedding canopy) was a nice touch.) The major problem they had is that the groom is a yeshivah student, and apparently they divied up the honors in the ceremony as much as possible so none of the rabbis at the yeshiva would be snubbed; consequently it got very crowded by the huppah.

The wedding feast afterwards was unusual in the degree of separation between the sexes. I had heard of weddings where there were little barriers separating men and women sitting at the same table. In this one there was a barrier running down the center of the room. (Not surprising; just never heard of it previously.) This put a major damper on plans to use the wedding to meet single Orthodox Jewish women. (We have a serious lack of them in Charleston, which contributes significantly to me still being single.) Nevertheless the festivities were still very enjoyable. There was an amazing amount of dancing going on, and even I, the introvert whom no one has ever seen engage in strenuous exercise, got into the act along with the more Hasidhic types and had to take off my vest and jacket at times to avoid overheating. I had no idea what I was doing, mind you, but it was still rather thrilling. A few people wore unusual costumes for the dancing or did tricks of some sort. E.g., there was a guy on a unicycle and someone else who did minor fire-eating. At one point we were even doing the limbo. (Not sure how that happened.)

Mom and I left around midnight. We have no idea when the festivities actually ended.

Stay tuned for what happened last Tuesday and Wednesday...

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