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March 28, 2003 - Image 102

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-28

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Standing Under The
Chuppah In Paradise

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Special to the Jewish News


bride, a groom and a chup-
pahh. Palm trees swaying
in a balmy breeze. Blue
skies and an aquamarine
sea. Sandpipers and plovers running
along the sandy shore. Yerushalayim
Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold) played
by a steel drum band.
This isn't your grandmother's wed-
ding. In today's mobile, global society,
many Jewish couples are taking their
wedding show on the road. Instead of
exchanging vows at the typical syna-
gogue, catering hall or hotel in the
bride's hometown, dream weddings are
taking place in dozens of exotic loca-
For some lucky couples who want to
stand under the chuppah in paradise,
Jewish weddings aren't what and where
they used to be.
According to Victoria Lewis, a
Jewish wedding consultant whose
company, Island Dreaming, is located
in Nassau, the Bahamas, the populari-
ty of tropical island weddings is grow-
ing, especially among Jewish couples.
Although a huge, elaborate affair far
from home can be very pricey, surpris-
ingly, more affordable wedding cere-
mony/reception packages for smaller
groups are attracting many hardwork-
ing young couples who are paying for
their own dream come true.
So you've decided that a black-tie
wedding extravaganza in the ballroom
of a posh hotel for 500 of your distant
relatives, parents' friends and business
associates isn't what you had in mind?
You're not into high heels and high
You veto that plan in favor of invit-
ing just a few dozen close buddies and
family members to share your special
day in a little dot on the map where
the air is clean and the hassles of
everyday life are an ocean away.
You still want to hear the Sheva
Brachot (seven wedding blessings) and

partake in all the other rituals. But the
thought of a Calypso group singing
Hava Nagilah at your seaside reception
as you kick off your shoes and dance
the horah along the shoreline sounds
so sweet.

Paradise Rabbi

Now what? Anyone got a chuppah to
go? Fear not. Geoff Hurst, appointed
by the registrar of the Bahamas as the
first Jewish Bahamian. marriage officer,
president of the Freeport Hebrew
Congregation (Reform) and adminis-
trator of the Luis de Torres Synagogue,
can drive or fly to your desired
Bahamas hideaway.
He can conduct a traditional Jewish
wedding ceremony complete with that

chuppah, kosher wine, kiddush cup,
ketubah and all the blessings and cus-
toms that you can handle.
Although not a traditionally trained
rabbi, Hiirst has approval to perform
weddings by the Union of American
Hebrew Congregations, the governing
body of the Reform movement. He
can officiate at his Freeport synagogue
or in any one of the islands' romantic
settings. They range from elegant gar-
den gazebos to secluded surfside
He doesn't mind the sand in his
shoes or the sea spray in his face. And
if you think that marrying couples is
an easy way for this retired English
pharmacist to get rich, you're wrong.

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