Sunday, July 30, 2017

What Really Counts

Saturday evening, I officiated Jeanne and Ronen’s wedding ceremony at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa, in San Antonio, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

One of the things that strike us, Israelis, about Texas is its sheer size. Everything IS bigger in Texas, including, well, Texas. Texans, in turn, are struck by how tiny Israel is. 

I have personally confirmed this story with our former governor and president, which illustrates this fact. George went on the obligatory visit to Israel in 1998, when he was planning his eventually successful run for the presidency. In those days, then future prime minister, Ariel Sharon, would take each prospective candidate on a helicopter ride. He would specifically show them the distance between the Green Line, the border of Israel Proper and the sea, which is just a few miles long. Seeing this #43 exclaimed, "We have driveways longer than that in Texas!" Humor aside, if you have been to a large Texas ranch, you know he was not lying!

Now, there are not that many American states that Israel can lord over due to their small size. Israel is often compared to New Jersey. It's not just because our politicians are usually also indicted shortly after they take the oath of office, just like in New Jersey; their size is similar. And New Jersey is much bigger than Rhode Island, where Jeanne is from. In fact, you could fit seven Rhode Islands inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Fortunately, size isn't everything. Mark Twain lived his latter days in a tiny state not far from Rhode Island, and earlier in life he visited what is now Israel, which was quite a feat at his time. He reminds us of a fact, that Texans would be wise to keep in mind, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog." 

That aphorism is very relevant to this couple. The special intimate ceremony we take part in today is not a Texas sized celebration. That would not fit the personality of this Rhode Island native or this sabra. However, if you know Jeanne and Ronen, you know this: The care they show for one another is great; the commitment they bring to their relationship is vast, and the mutual love they share is without end. And that, my friends, is what really counts. 

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