Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Blogging the Yek wedding

Last night, I saw something new: a Yek wedding.

First, background: 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.

Jokes about the Yekkies revolve around their supposed sensitivity to time. Some examples:

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

Everyday Henirich came home from morning services at exactly 7:30. One day in mid-winter he was one minute 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.

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. At last night’s wedding, 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?