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Clowns at the Wedding

March 31st, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  2 Comments

One day after my wedding and I was back at it again, this time attending the connubial events of a young Orthodox woman whose family I met through a website called shabbat.com. I won’t go into all of the details regarding this, other than to say it’s research for my book.

Regardless, this was the first time I’d been to a wedding of religiously observant Jews, and there lots of things that I didn’t entirely understand or recognize. I’ll figure most of them out on my own, but there’s one I thought was worth putting out for everyone’s consideration.

The wedding was segregated by gender, with the reception held in a large hall that had been divided with white partitions, men on one side, women on the other. My intent was to be respectful of the ritual practice of my hosts, and for the most part, I was. But I couldn’t help but do a little peeking.

Mostly the goings-on on the other side were the same as with the men: dancing, eating, singing, a bit of praying. We got booze, the ladies didn’t. The men’s dancing included rather impressive feats of strength (one bearded fellow balanced a partition–which had to weight at least 20 or 30 pounds–on his chin and danced with it), and the women’s didn’t.

But we men didn’t have clowns! Not even one, and the women, dressed in lovely, shiny, full-body-covering dresses, wigs in full flower, head wraps a-plenty–they had three. Yes, three colorful clowns and not the crying on the inside kind, as far as I could tell via my surreptitious glances through the partitions. And there was another woman dressed up as a native American, with feathers in her headdress but no axe!

Can someone tell me what the heck that was all about, please?


  1. Harry says:

    April 2nd, 2011at 6:25 am(#)

    This is known as “wedding shtick.” It is a talmudic mandate to bring joy and dance for the bride on her wedding day. Been going on for centuries. That said, I’ve seen some strange shit go down at orthodox Jewish weddings. Do a YouTube search for “wedding shtick” and you’ll see a lot of insanity that usually includes juggling fire, acrobatics and plenty of homoerotic dancing.

  2. dadwagon says:

    April 4th, 2011at 10:03 am(#)

    Harry–thanks! your entire comment just went into my book notes, and will likely be used–free of charge!–in my book. –theodore.

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