“It’s A Blessing!” A Filipino Wedding

On a sunny dry day, about an hour before the wedding, it begins to rain; the skies open up, dumping torrents of tropical rain, and I say to the family of the bride, “I’m sorry about the rain.”

“It’s a blessing!” they reply.

An hour later, it’s again sunny and dry, and outside the church on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines, the bride is waiting, dressed in her full wedding gown, inside an air-conditioned van.

“It’s a blessing!”

The groom is waiting outside the church, in the increasing heat; he is spotlessly clean and his hair neatly combed.

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I Bought Myself a Wedding Ring in Siem Reap

by B.J. Stolbov

Today, in a shop in the public market of Siem Reap, Cambodia, I bought myself a wedding ring.

I had a wedding ring already, which I had bought last August in a jewelry shop in the Philippines on one of the hottest days of the year. My hands had been sweaty and swollen when I made the purchase. But as the days cooled, and my hands dried and shrank, it became obvious that the ring was too big. I would often find it dangling at the end of my finger, barely hanging on by a nail, only one intense instant away from eternal loss. I'd catch it and push it back on again.

I didn’t bring the ring to Siem Reap. It just didn’t fit.

It also didn’t fit because I wasn’t sure that I wanted it to fit. I had been married for 20 years and single for more than 10 years. I had slid easily into relationships and had slid easily out of relationships. Until Grace.

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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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