HOW IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SELF?

  • Is your daily life narrated by a relentless inner critic?

  • Is the person you show to the world different than the person you know inside?

  • Do you worry that coworkers, friends and loved ones would reject you if they knew the "real you"? 

  • Are you burdened by an intense need to impress others, or to please others at your own expense?

  • Have you often felt that there is something simply wrong, different, or weird about you, as if you've never belonged here at all?

Feelings like these can fester under the surface for years and years, leading to depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and poor physical health.

 

 

HONORED GUESTS, DEAR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES,  BELOVED PARENTS, SIBLINGS, and NEPHEWS, NANCY AND LOU, LOU AND NANCY.

 

Honored guests, dear friends and relatives, beloved parents, siblings, and nephews, Nancy and Lou, Lou and Nancy

 

I'd like to take a moment to invite you to pause and just arrive into this moment.

Take a breath

Notice what it's like to be

Right here

Right now

In this place

With these people

In the presence of profound love

 

I’D LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENT TO INVITE YOU TO PAUSE AND JUST ARRIVE INTO THIS MOMENT. TAKE A BREATH. NOTICE WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE

RIGHT HERE,

RIGHT NOW

IN THIS SPACE

WITH THESE PEOPLE

IN THE PRESENCE OF LOVE

 

My friends, we are assembled here tonight to bear witness

MY FRIENDS, WE ARE ASSEMBLED HERE TONIGHT, TO BEAR WITNESS. By witness I do not mean that we came to be passive onlookers in the nights proceedings

BY WITNESS I DO NOT MEAN THAT WE CAME TO BE PASSIVE ONLOOKERS IN THE NIGHT’S PROCEEDINGS.

Rather we the assembled are here, each one of us, to take an active part in transforming the nature of the love that stands before us.

RATHER, WE THE ASSEMBLED ARE HERE, EACH ONE OF US, TO TAKE AN ACTIVE PART IN TRANSFORMING THE NATURE OF THE LOVE THAT STANDS BEFORE US.

For what was until now a private partnership.

FOR WHAT WAS UNTIL NOW A PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP IS, SO TO SPEAK ABOUT TO GO PUBLIC.

 

WE WHO FORM THE CIRCLE OF COMMUNITY AROUND THESE TWO PRECIOUS PEOPLE, WE WHO KNOW AND LOVE THEM, WE ARE HERE TO BE MADE PRIVY TO COMMITMENTS THEY HAVE ALREADY MADE TO EACH OTHER MANY TIMES OVER IN THEIR HEARTS, AND IN QUIET WORDS AND DEEDS. IN BEARING WITNESS, EACH OF US WILL BE CHARGED WITH A SACRED ROLE IN THE GREAT ENTERPRISE OF THEIR LOVE.

 

TONIGHT YOU NANCY WILL DECLARE TO ALL OF US WHO SURROUND AND SUPPORT YOU, THIS MAN IS A PART OF ME; WHOEVER CARES FOR MY WELLBEING MUST ALSO CARE FOR HIS.

 

AND TONIGHT YOU LOU WILL DECLARE TO ALL OF US WHO SURROUND AND SUPPORT YOU, THIS WOMAN IS A PART OF ME; WHEREVER I BELONG, SO DOES SHE BELONG. WHEREVER I AM AT HOME, SO IS SHE AT HOME.

 

THUS DOES YOUR LOVE TRANSCEND THE PRIVACY OF YOUR PARTNERSHIP AND BECOME A MATTER OF COMMUNAL ACCORD. THUS SHALL EACH OF US HOLD YOUR LOVE TOGETHER WITH YOU.

 

DEAR GUESTS, MY NAME IS BENJAMIN KAGEDAN. IM NOT A RABBI, BUT I AM A COLLEAGUE AND ADMIRING FRIEND OF NANCY AND LOU, AND THANKS TO THEM, NOW ALSO A MINISTER IN THE CHURCH OF UNIVERSAL LIFE.

 

BY THE WAY, FOR ANYONE IN THE CROWD CONSIDERING DOCTORAL TRAINING IN PSYCHOLOGY, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ORDINATION IN THE UNIVERSAL LIFE CHURCH AS AN ALTERNATIVE.

 

YET IT IS ONLY OWING TO THE LONG AND ARDUOUS PROFESSIONAL PATH NOW RIGHT BEHIND US THAT i came to know nancy and lou in the first place

 

NANCY AND I MET AT A PSYCHOANALYTIC PSYCHOLOGY CONFERENCE IN THE SPRING OF 2016, HAVING BOTH RECENTLY LEARNED THAT WE’D BE SPENDING THE NEXT ACADEMIC YEAR AS PART OF A SMALL COHORT OF INTERNS AT THE BROOKLYN VA HOSPITAL.

I REMEMBER QUITE CLEARLY GOING OUT FOR A THAI DINNER WITH A SMALL GROUP OF RUTGERS PSYCHOLOGY FOLKS AND THIS ONE NANCY, WHOM, DESPITE BEING THE ODD ONE OUT, NONETHELESS SEEMED TO EFFORTLESSLY FIT IN AT OUR TABLE, THE KIND OF PERSON WHO FEELS LIKE AN OLD FRIEND AFTER YOU’VE ONLY KNOWN HER FOR A FEW HOURS.

 

IMAGINE THEN MY GOOD FORTUNE TO END UP SPENDING THE NEXT TWO YEARS EITHER JUST DOWN THE HALL OR EVEN RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO THIS WONDERFUL, WISE, FUNNY, ENDLESSLY WARM AND GENEROUS PERSON.

 

I IMAGINE I AM ONLY ONE OF COUNTLESS PEOPLE, IN THIS ROOM AND IN THE WORLD AT LARGE, WHO CAN SAY THAT MY LIFE IS MUCH BETTER BECAUSE I MET NANCY ADLER.

 

SHORTLY AFTER HAVING MADE MY NEW FRIENDSHIP WITH NANCY FACEBOOK OFFICIAL, I CAME ACROSS A BIRTHDAY POST SHE’D WRITTEN FOR HER BOYFRIEND.

 

BY THEN I’D ALREADY HEARD LOU MENTIONED BY NAME. BUT IT WAS IN THAT POST THAT I WAS SUDDENLY INTRODUCED TO A DIFFERENT CHARACTER. AND I QUOTE, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE INIMITABLE LOUIE. I LOVE YOU TO GOWANUS AND BACK A MILLION TIMES OVER”. THE INIMITABLE LOUIE! WHAT A CRAZY ADJECTIVE!

 

FOR THOSE WHO DON’T RECOGNIZE THE WORD: INIMITABLE, ADJ. DEFINITION: so good as to be impossible to copy; unique.

 

UNTIL THAT MOMENT, ID NEVER HEARD ANYONE ALIVE CALL ANYONE ELSE INIMITABLE. NEEDLESS TO SAY, I WAS QUITE IMPRESSED. MAYBE ENVIOUS.

 

BUT THE MORE TIME I’VE GOTTEN TO SPEND WITH LOU, THE MORE I CAN ONLY CONCUR WITH THE DESCRIPTION.

 

LOU IS A CONSUMMATE ORIGINAL. I LIKED LOU RIGHT AWAY BECAUSE I FOUND HIM WARM, ENGAGING, FUNNY AND SMART. TYPICAL ENOUGH, RIGHT? BUT THEN I SUDDENLY BEGAN TO RECIEVE  PERSISTENT INVITATIONS TO PARTICIPATE IN A PROGRAM CALLED BODY BY LOUIE, A FITNESS CLASS TAUGHT BY THE EPONYMOUS AMATEUR TRAINER. NEXT, ON OUR FIRST DINNER DATE, I SAW LOU JUST CASUALLY MAKE AN OBJECT FLOAT IN THIN AIR. I’M STILL WAITING TO HEAR HIS STAND UP COMEDY ROUTINE, AND IM SURE THERE BOUNDLESS MORE SURPRISES IN STORE. BUT IN THE MEANTIME, WHENEVER WE SPEAK, I CAN ALWAYS EXPECT TO BE TREATED TO A FRESH, THOUGHTFUL PERSPECTIVE THAT REALLY MAKES ME THINK. CASE IN POINT- IF THERE EVER WAS AN INIMITABLE LOUIE ON EARTH, THIS IS THE GUY.

 

IF IT’S NOT YET CLEAR TO YOU, I’M A BIG FAN OF THESE TWO PEOPLE, AS ARE MY WIFE BECCA AND MY TWO YR OLD DAUGHTER BEATRICE, WHOSE INSTINCTS I TRUST THE MOST, AND WHO HAS TAKEN TO THESE INSTANTLY.

 

NANCY AND LOU, IT IS AN ABSOLUTE THRILL TO HAVE THE HONOR OF GUIDING THE TWO OF YOU AND YOUR ESTEEMED GUESTS THROUGH THIS SPECIAL MOMENT IN YOUR LIVES.

 

PART OF MY ROLE IN THIS PROCESS HAS BEEN TO WORK WITH THE COUPLE TO CREATE A WEDDING CEREMONY THAT IS BOTH PERSONALLY MEANINGFUL AND IN TOUCH WITH JEWISH TRADITION. FOR THOSE OF YOU LESS FAMILIAR WITH JEWISH PRACTICES, I’LL BE PROVIDING A BIT OF COMMENTARY AS WE GO ALONG.

 

FOR INSTANCE, YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED NANCY AND LOU MAKING CIRCLES AROUND EACH OTHER WHEN THEY ARRIVED AT THE CHUPPAH TOGETHER A MOMENT AGO.

 

THIS ANCIENT RITUAL SYMBOLIZES THE COUPLE MARKING OFF THE SPACE WITHIN WHICH WILL THEY WILL BUILD A HOME TOGETHER.

 

THE CHUPPAH, OR CANOPY, , IS AN EVEN MORE CONCRETE EXPRESSION OF THE WEDDING CEREMONY AS THE CREATION A NEW STRUCTURE, OR AS WE THERAPISTS LIKE TO SAY, A NEW CONTAINER, WITHIN WHICH THEIR LOVE CAN FLOURISH.

 

I ALSO WANTED TO SHARE WITH YOU THAT EARLIER IN THE EVENING, NANCY AND LOU AND THEIR TWO WITNESSES, NANCY’S BROTHER AND SISTER IN LAW BENNY AND DIERDRE, ALL SIGNED THIS BEAUTIFUL DOCUMENT, WHAT IS CALLED IN HEBREW A KETUBAH, WHICH LITERALLY JUST MEANS A WRITTEN DOCUMENT.

 

THE KETUBAH HAS CHANGED IN ITS LANGUAGE AND SIGNIFICANCE OVER TIME, BUT WHAT REMAINS CONSTANT IS THAT IT IS A COMMITMENT MADE BY EACH PARTNER TO SUPPORT AND PROTECT THE OTHER, AND TO, IN THE WORDS OF THIS PARTICULAR KETUBAH, “TENACIOUSLY OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES AHEAD, TOGETHER”.

 

4. Blessing over the wine

 

IN A MOMENT I WILL LEAD A MODERN BLESSING OVER A CUP OF WINE THAT WILL THEN BE SHARED BY THE COUPLE.

 

IN JEWISH TRADITION, WINE IS THE CATALYST THAT ELEVATES A MOMENT IN TIME AND INFUSES IT WITH SACREDNESS AND JOYFUL CELEBRATION.

 

PRECIOUS IS THE LIFE WITHIN THE WORLD.

PRECIOUS IS THE LIFE WITHIN US.

PRAISED ARE THOSE WHO BRING FORTH THE FRUIT OF THE VINE.

L’CHAIM!

 

(THEY SIP THE WINE)

 

5. Exchange of vows and rings

Phil will have the rings

 

MY FRIENDS, YOU WILL NOW HAVE THE PLEASURE AND HONOR OF HEARING NANCY AND LOU SPEAK FROM THEIR OWN HEARTS, AS THEY READ ALOUD THE VOWS THEY HAVE PREPARED TO MAKE TO EACH OTHER TONIGHT.

 

AS EACH VOW IS OFFERED, IT WILL BE SYMBOLICALLY IMBUED WITH POWER AND FORCE BY THE GIVING OF A RING FROM EACH PARTNER TO THE OTHER.

 

Nancy will read her prepared “vows”, put ring on Lou’s finger

Lou will read his prepared “vows”, then put ring on Nancy’s finger


 

6. The seven blessings

 

THE NEXT AND PENULTIMATE PORTION OF THE CEREMONY IS THE RITUAL OF THE SEVEN BLESSINGS. TRADITIONALLY, CHOSEN GUESTS RISE TO RECITE ONE OF SEVEN HEBREW BENEDICTIONS. WE’VE REIMAGINED THIS MOMENT AS OFFERING SEVEN OPPORTUNITIES FOR NANCY AND LOU TO RECEIVE LOVE AND WELL WISHES FROM LOVED ONES TO BRING WITH THEM AS SPIRITUAL SUPPLIES AS THEY EMBARK ON THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME. NANCY AND LOU, I INVITE YOU TO OPEN YOUR HEARTS TO THESE WORDS AND LET THEM LINGER AND RESONATE. AS YOU LISTEN,LOOK AROUND AND TAKE IN THIS SCENE, AND FEEL ALL OF THE LOVE FOR YOU THAT IS CONCENTRATED HERE IN THIS GATHERING, AS YOUR SEVEN BLESSING GIVERS SPEAK FOR ALL OF US.

 

I WOULD NOW LIKE TO INVITE BARBARA ADLER, MOTHER OF THE BRIDE, TO OFFER THE FIRST BLESSING.

 

HONORED WITH THE SECOND BLESSING IS HARRIET KONIG, MOTHER OF THE GROOM.

 

HONORED WITH THE THIRD BLESSING IS RAY Pennotti (penn-ah-ti)

 

HONORED WITH THE FOURTH BLESSING IS ELISA Clarke Wadham (waddum)

 

HONORED WITH THE FIFTH BLESSING IS MARION Seltzer

 

HONORED WITH THE SIXTH BLESSING IS DAVE KONG.

 

HONORED WITH THE SEVENTH BLESSING IS PATRICK WOODS.

 

 

 

7. Breaking the glass

 

THANK YOU ALL FOR THESE BEAUTIFUL EXPRESSIONS OF YOUR CARE FOR NANCY AND LOUIS.

 

A JEWISH WEDDING FAMOUSLY ENDS WITH BREAKING OF A GLASS UNDERFOOT. I WILL ADD MY OWN BLESSING HERE, THAT AS YOU TAKE THIS JOURNEY TOGETHER, YOU ALWAYS HOLD SPACE AND COMPASSION FOR THE LITTLE BROKEN PARTS, THE PAINS, FEARS, AND LONGINGS THAT ARE IN NEED OF CONSTANT WELCOMING, IN YOURSELVES AND IN EACH OTHER, FOR IN THE WORDS OF A MODERN PROPHET, THERE'S A CRACK IN EVERYTHING, THAT IS WHERE THE LIGHT Gets IN.

 

And SO, by the power vested in me by the state of New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may break the glass and kiss one a other.

 

Bin gives more explanation, then pronounces husband and wife

Lou breaks the glass,

Then kiss. Everyone cheers!

 

RECESSIONAL

God Only Knows (Beach Boys)

 


 

 

 

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