17 June 2007

Los Angeles: Fusion weddings

From the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, a great story on fusion Jewish weddings, combining the cultural traditions of diverse groups.

Kirin and Babak might not seem like your ordinary Jewish couple. Kirin grew up Jewish in Anchorage, living the typical western American life. Babak was raised with the traditions of a large Persian Jewish family.

The pair met in Los Angeles, got engaged, and then threw a raucous Persian wedding with a twist from up North. While the food and the ceremony were Persian, the quilted chuppah sent down from the sisterhood at Kirin's Anchorage synagogue was purely Alaskan.

The blending of wedding traditions to create a fusion ceremony has become a contemporary norm in multicultural Southern California. This trend holds true for the Jewish community.

"Welcome to Los Angeles," said Rabbi Denise Eger of West Hollywood's Congregation Kol Ami. "Here there are Chinese, Japanese, black, brown, Hispanic all being raised as Jews. The face of Judaism is not what it was back East."

I particularly liked the fact that one Persian-Asian Jewish pair printed two sets of invitations with different starting times to make sure everyone showed up at once!

Cross-cultural weddings have been carried out throughout Jewish history, according to rabbis interviewed in the article who maintain that this fusion has strengthened us as a people.

Kirin said her parents are now overjoyed with the cross-cultural offerings of her marriage, from new recipes and customs to new genealogy.

"My parents always said marry someone Jewish, it will make your life easier, happier. It never occurred to them that I could find someone Jewish, yet culturally so different," she said.

Persian weddings are an amalgam of thousands of years of traditions, while Alaska's frozen chosen haven't yet reached the 100-year mark.

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