Married to the Military

by Jessica Lynn


Last month I took one of the best trips of my life. It wasn’t to the Amazon or Asia, and I didn’t travel around Europe or Australia. Instead, one arm grasped around my dad’s arm and the other held tight to a fragrant bouquet of light pink carnations and roses as I took my last steps as a single lady.

My journey to wedded bliss began more than four years ago when, thanks to the military, my then boyfriend/now husband and I were living across the country from each other. He was stationed in Georgia and I was living in New Mexico. Not only did people tell me how hard it was to date someone in the military, but they also said a long-distance relationship would never last. After using our hard-earned vacation time to see each other, making sure communication and trust were number one priorities in our relationship, and racking up thousands of frequent flier miles, we made it work.

He proposed on Valentine’s Day in 2009 while I was visiting him, and after a short celebratory weekend, I flew home with an engagement ring sparkling on my left hand and started planning our wedding.

Luckily, my husband didn’t deploy over the course of our engagement, but the military still played a hand in influencing the specifics for the wedding. The date of the wedding was determined by when his best man and groomsman returned from their deployments.

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Dressing for a Jerusalem Wedding

by Bliss Goldstein


What does one wear to an Orthodox Jewish wedding in Jerusalem?  In August?

This became my preoccupation from the moment I heard over the telephone wire—which ran like an umbilical cord all the way to the Pacific Northwest from my son who was calling from Israel—the announcement that he was engaged.  As a bagel-and-cream-cheese Jew, I knew there were various body parts that could be shown in any U.S. city but would have to be hidden from sight in the Middle East.  Having never stepped into an Orthodox temple, and certainly not into one built on sand, I was instantly horrified to think my elbows or knees might cause an international incident.

My son and my soon-to-be daughter-in-law reassured me.

“Just wear whatever makes you comfortable.”

Liars.  I was perfectly comfortable in tube tops and sweats, but I knew that wouldn’t be kosher.

“Ummmm, you probably don’t want to wear red,” my daughter-in-law-to-be added.

Red?  Who knew red was a problem?  Clearly I had to become educated about the Jewish laws regarding modesty.  When my research revealed several hot zones on the female form—no elbows, knees, toes, or décolletage—I walked into my closet and stood there, horrified.  All my summer clothes reveled in showcasing at least two pieces of offending flesh.

My long, black never-wrinkles ankle length TravelSmith skirt made me look frumpy. Turtlenecks were out as the Promised Land promised over one-hundred degrees in the summer. 

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A Sixty-Year Love Story from Morocco, Israel and France

by Bethany Ball

Marco and Aliza descended on our house in Nyack New York with their irrepressible energy.  Aliza, who is visiting from Israel, is the mother of our dear friend Sagi. And Marco is her boyfriend visiting from his home in Bordeaux, France.  They were staying with Sagi in his tiny apartment in Williamsburg and had come over to cook a meal for Sagi and his friends. Marco immediately settled in, a spry, fit man in his early seventies, making the most of our ill-equipped kitchen (I asked myself: Where are my kitchen scissors? Why do I not have large cutting boards? Or serving dishes?). Marco speaks French, Portuguese and Hebrew. Everyone who came for dinner spoke a smattering of one or several of those languages. If we got stuck, Marco spoke to Aliza in French and she translated in Hebrew or English. There was moule (en francais), moulim (b’ivrit) or mussels with a butter sauce that we were instructed to drink. Our friend Anthony (a native New Yorker married to an Israeli) brought lamb kabob and sharpened knives. Kristen, a native Alabaman chopped parsley. Sagi worked the grill, along with my husband. Anthony’s Israeli wife Abi and I chased after our not-quite-two-year olds and filled in the gaps--like searching for kitchen appliances and washing dishes. Abi set the table and tore and folded paper towel for napkins (why do I never have napkins?). Kristen’s boyfriend Etay played DJ, chopped vegetables and teased Marco. “Marco! I put on French music! Just for you.”

“Bah!” he said, making a face, “It is Carla Bruni. She does not sing. She talks!”

“Give us some Yves Montand,” Aliza called out.

Marco served my grilled fish, branzini or Mediterranean Sea bass. He called it by its French name, Loup de Mer.

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