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      Hollywood to the Holy Land
      by Tzvi Fishman
      Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Creativity and Culture

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      Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.


      Adar 12, 5771, 2/16/2011

      There's Nothing Like a Wedding in Israel!

      That’s why there is nothing like a wedding and true Jewish life in Israel, where the words of the Psalm are real.
      Last week, we attended a family wedding up north. No simcha can match a wedding in Israel. There’s nothing like it. It’s much more than the private happiness of the bride and groom – it’s the happiness of the whole nation!

      In Israel, when the hattan breaks the traditional glass signifying the destruction of Yerushalayim, and recites the verse of the Psalm, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, if I not set Jerusalem above my chiefest joy,” he says the words with all his heart, and the wedding guests respond by accompanying him in song, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, if I not set Jerusalem above my chiefest joy,” everyone together, everyone united as one great family in their love and dreams for Jerusalem and everything it stands for.

      "Above my chiefest joy!"

      In Israel, it is a holy moment, as profound and moving as the chanting of Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur night. The words of the song on everyone’s lips are so real and filled with meaning, they seem to hang in the air, as if literally adding a block to the walls of Jerusalem. Time seems to stop during this long incredible moment. Eyes shine with tears, knowing that we, with this wedding in Israel, with this joining of two lives in the Holy Land after an exile of 2000 years, the hattan and the kallah, and everyone present, together, are actually rebuilding another block in the walls of Jerusalem.

      my son tries on a shtreimel

      That’ why there is nothing like the joy of a wedding in Israel. You literally feel and experience the Redemption of the Jewish People unfolding before your eyes. At this wedding, the bride’s family came to Israel from Yemen. The groom’s family came to Israel from Poland and Russia. One grandfather walked hundreds and hundreds of kilometers across deserts to board a boat to the Holy Land. Another grandfather survived Auschwitz as a 14 year old boy. The hattan himself is an Israeli soldier, so the wedding hall was filled with soldiers, Yemenite Jews, black-hatted Hasidim and Haredim, and knitted kippot that swirled around the dance floor in circles like colorful flying saucers.

      Quiz: this Jewish wedding is taking place in Miami, Brooklyn, Toronto, Melbourne, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, or Israel?

      Let’s face it. When a Jew recently married Clinton’s daughter in New York, how serious was he when he recited the words of the Psalm “If I forget Jerusalem”- if he recited it at all? Who amongst the guests knew the words to join him in the prayer? Or were they thinking more about getting on with the food and the drinks?

      That’s why there nothing like a wedding and true Jewish life in Israel, where the words of the Psalm are real.