Thursday, June 21, 2012

At the Yek Wedding

The other day, I was a guest at something that was once common, but now occurs rarely: A Yek wedding.*

* A "Yekkie" is a Jew of German heritage. According to The Big Book of Jewish Rumor and Innuendo, the word "Yek" is connected to the word for jacket. As the story goes, the Yekkies were the first Jews to wear short coats. When, with typical sensitivity, their long-coated Eastern European cousins defined the Germans by their clothing, a slang-name was born. I should note that this might be an urban legend.

- Interpolation -

There are some great Yekkie Jokes revolve around their supposed sensitivity to time. Two examples:

What happens when you cross a Lubavitcher with a Yekkie? A Messiah that comes on time.

Every day Henirich came home from morning services at exactly 7:30. One day in mid-winter he was late. His new wife Lottie was frantic: "What happened?! I was so nervous," she hollered as Henirich came into the house.

The man shrugged: V'sen tal u'mutar.

- End Interpolation -

Anyway, once upon a time, before the Yekkies bowed down to the false idol of Torah True-homogenization, they had a unique culture and unique community, with its own customs. That’s on the decline, and nearly gone.

At the wedding I attended, though, a few of the old customs were on display.

(1) The bride and groom snuggled together under a talis during the ceremony.

(2) An old guy limped down the aisle before anyone else yelping a Psalm.
(3) At the end, before the lightbulb was shattered, a trio of old guys croaked out another Pslam.
(4) After the tannaim were read, the mothers threw the plate on the floor (instead of shattering it on the back of a chair, or attacking it with a mallet)

It made me wonder: How did other vanished Jewish communities celebrate weddings? What forgotten customs were observed in Rome? In Budapest? In Worms? In Paris? In Fez? In Bagdahd?

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