Temple Shalom has been throwing Teddy Bear weddings for years, but this year’s wedding ceremony Feb. 24 took things to a new educational level. Second-graders, under the leadership of teacher Tamara Farris, learned about Jewish weddings and passionately planned a dream wedding for “Bear Baruch” (Hebrew for blessed) and “Bear Nireet” (Hebrew for flower). Each student played a role: bride, groom, rabbi, bridesmaid, glass holder and of course, chuppah holders. The children and their bears dressed in their finest clothes and decorated the reception hall. They wrote and decorated their own ketubah, which including important rules of marriage such as, “Be nice to each other, always have a pet, never fight.”
The wedding party and Rabbi Ariel Boxman were joined in the sanctuary by religious-school students, friends and family. The bridesmaid and bride walked down the aisle to music played by the Temple Shalom Kazoo Band, The Relative Minors. The wedding party chose seven original blessings for the wedding bears, and after a symbolic exchange of rings, apple juice, vows and the breaking of the glass, the bears were officially married.
At the reception, the bride and groom entered into a room filled with bubbles. Festivities included the traditional chair dance, hora and bottle dance. The Relative Minors performed their favorite melodies including, of course, the top of the song chart, “Baby Shark” (with original verses of Rabbi Shark, Bride Shark and Groom Shark). The highlight of the reception was when students and parents decorated their own cupcakes.