Monday, November 13, 2017

Greece and Judea – Inseparable

Saturday evening, I officiated Stacey and Dean’s Jewish-Greek wedding ceremony at the Samuel Lynne Galleries, in Dallas, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

What struck me about Stacey and Dean, is that if you didn’t know otherwise, you wouldn’t believe they had only been together for three years. In that sense, they are reminiscent of their respective cultures. To us, in the 21st Century, it might seem like the interactions between the Greek and Jewish cultures are fairly new. However, when you look a little closer, you discover that our relationship goes back a very long time, and our cultures mutually influenced each other, across history. 
Our cultural relationship began through a brief introduction, just like Stacey and Dean’s did, with the Persians likely serving as the Karen of Stacey and Dean’s story. We each liked what we saw. There were clear similarities in our Mediterranean ways of life.
With Alexander’s conquest and the advent of the Hellenistic Culture across the empires founded by his generals, came one of the most significant events in Jewish and Greek history, the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. And, so while Jews throughout the world were exposed to Greek ideas, the Hellenistic world was exposed to the ideas of Judea.
None of this would have been possible without mutual respect, patience and understanding. The same was true in Stacey and Dean’s story: Just like Judea and Greece, Stacey and Dean came together from different backgrounds and each had busy lives, but together they found common ground. 

The relationship between Greece and Judea continued to grow. From acquaintances, we moved on to become friends. Eventually, we became so close, our lives became so intertwined, that you couldn’t even picture us apart. And guess what? That is exactly what happened to Stacey and Dean!

Now, like Stacey and Dean, Greece and Judea were different. We came from different places, had slightly different accents, sometimes spoke very different languages. However, like Stacey and Dean, we were confident in our relationship. We knew we were inseparable. 

Eventually, a strong succession of rabbis came along and affirmed something fascinating: If you are just Greek, without that relationship to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you’re not the best Greek you can be. And if you are just Jewish, without that relationship to Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, you’re not the best Jew you can be. 

If you know Stacey and Dean, you see that same sentiment not only in their verbal interactions with each other; you see it in their body language. Stacey is essentially saying, I am not the best Stacey I can be without Dean. And Dean is essentially saying, I am not the best Dean I can be without Stacey. 

That is probably why Stacey told me a few weeks ago, and I quote, “Now marry us. The girls and I can’t wait for Dean to be my husband and (their) step dad.” And if have learned anything in the last decade, it’s this: Don’t argue with the bride, Jewish, Greek or otherwise, so let’s get to it!

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