|Elaine at the wedding|
The celebration was held at the Intercontinental Hotel, which was built in the heady days after the Oslo Accords were signed when peace between Israel and the Palestinians seemed imminent and Jericho was one of the first towns turned over to Palestinian administration. While much of that hope has been lost, or at least stalled, the Intercontinental is still in business and serves as the venue for important occasions like large, opulent wedding celebrations.
|The large ballroom of the Intercontinental|
|Arelen Chapman, Eric and Elaine Huntsman, Margaret and Jared Ludlow, Eran Hayet|
Perhaps the most interesting part to me was the zaffa or procession that occurred outside the ballroom. A group of men, family and friends of the groom, played bendir dums, bagpipes (inherited from the British Mandatory period, apparently) and chanted and sang traditional poems of good luck and blessing. The couple danced and danced, and at one point the groom and his father were both lifted aloft on shoulders.
The couple later made a formal entrance to the ballroom, where we were all seated for a full dinner. Everyone was dressed to the nines, but it was interesting, because while many were dressed conservatively (and some were obviously religious), there were other women who were dressed in very Western, even somewhat revealing, attire. The couple and then their families, and then their friends joined in and danced and danced. For the most part men danced with men and women with women, but the couple did dance together, and they were all on the floor together, which would not have occurred in a more conservative celebration, where men and women would actually have been in separate rooms.