Kathy and I had the pleasure of attending a wedding a couple of weeks ago. The wedding was stunningly beautiful and dripping with the sweetness of tradition and family. See this was a Jewish wedding and there is no wedding ceremony and celebration that I have experienced that is like a Jewish wedding. Every part of the ceremony and celebration is rich in tradition and symbolism. The Jewish wedding celebration is truly a family event that brings in relatives from all over the country providing:
An opportunity to reconnect with family.
An opportunity to strengthen the bonds to each other.
An opportunity to be in community together.
An opportunity to have fun as a family.
There is an incredible amount of power in the Jewish traditions that is harnessed in the strong bonds of family. Although there is certainly exclusivity, the Jews have managed to stay bonded together even in the face of the mixing bowl of the United States. This bond of ethnicity is a powerful propellant. To be Jewish means to take care of your own. Provide opportunities for the youngsters and offer deep respect for your elders. This power, I believe, we loose in our hunger to assimilate here in the U.S.
How can we reconnect with this power?
Take every opportunity to celebrate your ethnic roots. As a family, we sing a Polish birthday song called Sto Lat. I learned it from my father and we have continued to sing Sto Lat at all of our family birthday celebrations after the traditional American happy birthday song. We continue singing after everyone else has stopped- in Polish- as a tribute to our family heritage. I feel like its our way of saying- this is our family and this is our tradition. There is also some exclusivity here. Our family, our heritage, and our tradition. We have sung Sto Lat loud and proud in restaurants and housefuls of friends outside of our family. I suspect my children will continue this with their children, and so on it goes.
As I write this, I am sitting in a bed and breakfast enjoying some R&R in Frankfort, Michigan. Every year at the 4th of July we would travel as a family and vacation here for the 4th holiday. So many great memories here. They flood back as we have visited the places we went years ago. Another sweet tradition for our family. Traditions and family are powerful. If you don’t leverage these two forces you are missing a great opportunity to bind your family together and harness the power of the family unit. As a group you can do much more good than on your own. A family can be unstoppable. Tap into this power.
Happy Father’s Day and….Mazel tov!