Most of the time when I officiate at a wedding, it’s usually because either the bride or groom have a connection to Temple Beth Torah. However, this past Sunday was an exception. I owe it all to the fact that my father-in-law loves to play tennis.
My in-laws, Avi and Marcia Ben-Ora, live in San Francisco (yes, my father-in-law’s first name is Avi; do not even attempt to draw any Freudian inferences from this fact. Believe me, I‘ve heard them all). Avi has long been an avid tennis player. Last summer one of his regular playing partners mentioned to that his son had just become engaged and the couple was looking for a rabbi to marry them.
It might have been logical for my father-in-law to refer the couple to his daughter. However, Rabbi Eve does not customarily officiate at life-cycle ceremonies. I guess after nearly 35 years of marriage to his daughter, I’ve earned Avi’s respect, so he referred his playing partner’s son to me.
Long story short, I soon arranged to meet with Ken and his fiancée, Eugenia. We had an immediate liking for one another. They are a delightful couple and I was honored that they asked me to officiate at their wedding.
Their ceremony this past Sunday was wonderful. It took place at the Garden at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek. The setting was gorgeous. The weather was tranquil. Most importantly, the couple’s love for one another was reflected in their wedding vows and the obvious joy they felt on this happy day.
Officiating at weddings is one of the great pleasures of being a rabbi. It’s richly fulfilling to create a service that reflects the unique nature of a couple’s relationship; to incorporate Jewish symbols that are rich with meaning; and to bring together family and friends for a joyful occasion.
I suppose I could offer my father-in-law a “finder’s fee” for referring this wonderful couple to me via his tennis partner. But I presume he would do one of two things. Either he would immediately turn me down. Or he would advise me to buy something nice for his daughter!