Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Recombobulation Area

Sorry I haven't been posting. My only excuse is that I've been busy with just about every type of life transition. A few months ago I was an unmarried high school teacher living in New York, and now I'm a married graduate student, college TA, and rebbetzin living in Maryland (a few feet, or a few inches, from the District of Columbia, depending on where in the apartment I'm standing). And the last time I spent two straight weeks in one place was in May, and (as weddings give way to chagim) the next time won't be until (at least) October.

Now that relative stability is in sight, life feels like this picture I took on Sunday at the Milwaukee airport (immediately after going through the "security" line):

So more regular blogging may return at some point. I know some readers were hoping for posts about weddings, and at some point we'll write up what we did, how, and why. In brief: bilateral kiddushin bishtar with tenaim making each kiddushin dependent on the other, symbolic shutafut-style lifting of a bag of rings, and bilateral kinyan sudar with the rings to acquire the obligations of the ketubah. To learn what all those terms mean, stick around for future posts.

In the meantime, with the holidays coming up soon, a related update on a topic near and dear to Mah Rabu: Under the chuppah, in addition to the rings that belonged to my great-great-grandparents Natalie (Hamburger) and Rabbi Leo Baeck (who were married in 1899; the story of how the rings got out of Nazi Germany is undoubtedly spectacular, but no one is alive to tell it), we used two family kiddush cups, one that belonged to my wife's grandfather Abe Richman, and one that belonged to my great-great-great-great-grandfather Rabbi Adolf Wiener (1811-1895). (Yes, in my family tree a Wiener married a Hamburger, foreshadowing their great-great-great-grandson's vegetarian home.) I was inspired by this to google Rabbi Wiener. I knew he had written some books, so I thought he might turn up somewhere, and sure enough, he shows up in the old public-domain Jewish Encyclopedia.

According to his article there, "he advocated ... the abolition of all second days of festivals". So it turns out that, in past posts when I explained my practice of one-day yom tov as minhag avoteinu by describing myself as a "fifth-generation Reform Jew", I wasn't telling the whole truth. I am actually (at least) the seventh generation of my family that has held one day of yom tov!


  1. What's a recombobulation area?


  2. I don't see you're a member of the facebook group One day chag

  3. One nitpick. The article says "he advocated ... the abolition of all second days of festivals" Not that he observed one day of festivals. I know plenty of people who currently advocate one day festivals. But until their movement endorses the position they're not willing to practice it. Rabbi Wiener could have been in a similar position. So while you clearly have 7 generations advocating for 1 day festivals, you still only have proof of 5 generations practicing 1 day.

  4. BF-
    The Facebook group doesn't represent my views on the issue. It says "Isn't it about time we all celebrate one day just like they do in Israel? Sign on. Maybe if we get enough signatures, someone will take note and help us out!" I'm not waiting around for anyone else to "help us out"; I'm already there.

  5. Anonymous-
    Only 1 or 2 generations advocated for it; the rest didn't need to.

  6. Still, it's pretty cool that the group has members from the SAR High School network.

  7. Steg: I've also heard "rebbitzman"

  8. I've heard "RebbitzHim"