Josette and Ron’s Wedding – God, America, Jamaica And Israel
‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. “ Robert Frost
It is not a poem I expected to be read at a wedding by the father of the groom. It is one of my favorite poems. I had to memorize it in high school. I know it well.
I hadn’t spoken to Josette in a while . She was a good friend of my daughter and they had grown up together in the dance world. Josette is a beautiful Jamaican American girl. She contacted me to invite us to her wedding. I knew she was engaged to an Israeli boy. I responded that “I know rabbis’ ha ha.” She said “Not so ha ha. I’m Jewish now and I live in Tel Aviv.” I spent that day laughing about how strange the world was and that people will always surprise you. She was having two weddings one in California and one in Israel. It turned out that you can not be married twice by a rabbi so she was getting married in California by the pastor from her church.
I’ve known her family for seventeen years. They are the most devout Christian family I know. We have never had a conversation that didn’t mention Jesus or God or praying – a lot of praying. I wrestle with God so their unshakable faith is hard for me to understand. I’m also a little bit jealous of people who have that kind of faith. I think they are happier.
I was curious how they would feel about their daughter marrying outside their race and religion and moving far away to start a very different life. Their close family and their faith was such a big part of who they were.
The families couldn’t have been more different. Jamaican Americans and Israelis from Israel. For younger Americans, racial and ethnic diversity are a part of their lives now– for their parents not so much.
It turned out that these families had more in common then one would think. They were both intact loving families. Their parents had long-term marriages and were growing old together. Both Josette and Ron talked about learning honor, integrity and kindness from their families. Their values and their belief in God made them more the same than different. I think that is what God is supposed to be about – not the separate God of individual countries and religions. There was a lot of praying and it was the first time I heard Christ Our Lord and Mazel Tov (pronounced with the accent on the zal the way the Israelis do) in the same sentence.
There was so much love in that room. Ron and Josette seem to have the same soul, the same values and the same dreams. If they change the world around them a little bit and offer some hope for the future , that is a bonus. (Oh and they both can dance) Both families seemed very happy with their new family members and they loved Ron and Josette!!.
The ceremony was beautiful. The setting was exquisite. Their Christian ceremony ring was placed on the third finger. Their Jewish ring will be the fourth finger and then they ended the ceremony by jumping the broom. This practice is common today in African-American families as a remembrance of the “mock marriage” ceremony for the slaves in the South in the 1840s and 1850s. They will be married now in the eyes of God, two religions and history.
Ron’s mother ran up to Josette’s brother’s girlfriend. “Are you coming to Israel next month?” They talked about travel plans. We saw Josette’s mom when we were leaving. I said “I can’t believe that you are going to Israel before my kids.” She replied in her beautiful Jamaican accent to my daughter. “You haven’t visited the homeland? You know that you can go for free.” (Birthright trip)
I said congratulations. We talked about how brave Josette was to make a decision to live such a different life. She answered, “that we can only pray.” (photo -Nicole Lennox Creative.)
Keep Safe Josette and Ron and Fly Safe Everyone,