The story of second-graders and the two bears

Every little girl dreams about her dream wedding. The beautiful flowers, perfect dress, a room full of friends and the perfect delicious cake. Of course, they dream about the perfect partner too — big brown eyes, a cute button nose, perfect white fur and 12 inches tall. Well, when you are a teddy bear planning your wedding at Temple Shalom Religious School, that’s what you dream about.
Earlier this year, second-graders in Tamara Farris’ class got to plan, organize and throw what organizers believe is the biggest teddy-bear wedding of all time — at least at Temple Shalom. Some kids dressed in their finest clothes. Others came in their favorite pajamas — since it was also monthly spirit day at Temple Shalom.
Boys and girls worked with Farris and her Ozrim assistants to write an original ketubah with all the “important rules of marriage:” Live a happy and healthy life, celebrate birthdays, take care of each other when sick, stay together, take care of the kids, be kind and honest, and use money wisely. These second-graders seem very wise at such a young age.
After writing the Ketubah was finished, it was time for the party planning. Hanging decorations, coloring beautiful doilies for the chuppah, decorating cupcakes for all the guests and even learning the traditional bottle dance from “Fiddler on the Roof.” The entire class stayed focused and on task all morning.
Rabbi Ariel Boxman and her assistant, “Rabbi Bear,” officiated the special ceremony. After both bears exchanged vows, it was time for the breaking of the glass. The wedding party and guests all practiced crushing plastic cups and even discussed the meaning of this symbolic tradition.
“The kids had such a good time making a ketubah, decorating their own wedding (cup)cakes, and designing their own chuppah,” Farris said. “As usual, I learned more from them than they learned from me.”
After the ceremony, it was time to hit the dance floor. Guests danced to “Love Shack” and a variety of other love-themed songs, as they practiced the bottle dance and showed off their best dance moves. Of course, the wedding party and guests had to pose for photos with the bride and groom, and then it was time for the highlight of the afternoon — the wedding cupcakes.
When the kids were asked if all the planning was worth it, they all shouted “yes!” What was their favorite part? You guessed it — the cake.
“The second-graders are having a wonderful time this year learning about Jewish lifecycle events,” Boxman said. “Even though it will likely be years before they have their own Jewish wedding, they now have an idea of what it may be like. The learning was joyful, experiential and memorable.”

— Submitted by
Lisa Rothberg

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