Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Brief weekend honeymoon and pride

Last weekend was spent in San Francisco. The kids were with other relatives. E and I drove up after work on Friday. We stayed at a friend’s house in the Castro. Four of us went out and had a terrific small plate dinner at Bambuddha Lounge in the Civic Center area. Afterwards, we walked over to the Opera House to see “Così fan tutte” by Mozart. It was “Out at the Opera Night” which meant free champagne at intermission for all the gays out on the balcony. It was a fun opera.
After a day of shopping and walking around the Castro, we went to see the San Francisco Symphony on Saturday evening. They were doing a semi-staged concert version of Gershwin’s “Of Thee I Sing” and “Let ’Em Eat Cake”. Although some parts of the shows were dated (US political satire of the 1930’s), much of it was amazingly relevant to today’s politics.
Sunday morning we marched in the Gay Pride Parade. See previous entry about how to get thrown out of a gay parade.

Monday, June 27, 2005

How to get kicked out of a Gay Pride Parade.

Sunday we marched in San Francisco Gay Pride Parade with a group from Stanford University. The Stanford Marching Band was “marching” with us. “Marching” is in quotes because they don’t really march, they scatter. The band runs from one spot to the next and then plays a quick song. They are either running or playing. When they are playing they are loud and rocking. Crowds love them. Groups marching in units in front and behind us loved them too. There was love and music everywhere except in the cold, harden heart of the woman parade monitor. She did not like that the band could not stay contained as a unit in one box like group. She gave the band three warnings and then they were out. (She must be a UC Berkeley graduate.) Police were called in. The band had “marched” less then half of the parade route. A dozen police and security people barricaded the street in front of the band. Nobody was allowed to proceed until the Stanford Band was forced off onto a side street and out of the parade. If the band refuses to leave they were told that they would be arrested. After a brief standoff, the band yielded. The parade route was now safe for the Pride march to continue.

This was so absurd and bizarre. The band has a history of being controversial, outrageous, and sometime offensive. But they weren’t that at the Pride Parade. They were just being exuberant and enthusiastic.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The wedding schedule with program notes

1:00-1:45 Pictures with Ed & Eddie and with our kids
1:45-2:15 Pictures with rest of wedding party
2:15-2:30 Pictures with parents, siblings, other family
2:30-2:55 Gather in Conference Room for Ketubah Service
- Wedding party, family, witnesses & spouses/dates. The ketuba (“that which is written”) is the traditional marriage contract that has joined Jewish spouses for more than 2000 years. Written in both Hebrew and English, ours documents the date and place of our wedding, bridges our ceremony to the beginnings of Jewish traditions with Abraham and Sarah, and underscores the promises of caring and provision we are today making for one another.
2:15 Greeters in place
2:30 Piano music starts
2:55 Wedding party in hallway
3:00 Piano music starts for wedding itself

- Groomsman escorts Eddie’s Aunt & Uncle to seats
- Groomsman escorts Ed’s Father & Mother to seats
- Rabbi greets congregation and sets the scene
3:10 Procession begins to piano music:
- The Chuppah supporters (8 friends) come down the aisle
- Our two Groomsmen come down the aisle
- Our two Best Men come down the aisle
- Ed escorted by his two daughters and one son walks down the aisle
- Eddie escorted by his three sons walks down the aisle
3:15 Service under the Chuppah
- Rabbi greets and welcomes us
- Jewish music as Eddie & Ed circle one another seven times. We circle one another as a physical gesture of becoming ‘one.’ This circling symbolizes the unity of our marriage.
- Ed and Eddie’s two oldest children pour 2 cups of wine for blessing
- Erusin (Bethrothal). We will share the first cup of wine. Wine is associated with celebration in Judaism, and the sharing of the first cup symbolizes the great joy we share together today. Our first cup of wine will be drunk from the kiddush cup of a dearly departed friend.
- Personal remarks by Rabbi. Rabbi reads letters we wrote to each other.
- Soloist sings “With You” from Pippin by Stephen Schwartz
- 7 blessings read by wedding party. The Sheva B’rachot (Seven Blessings) moves us from the beginning of time to the end of time, weaving the joy of this moment into the continuum of history. They celebrate the blessing of a loving companionship, and they imagine a time when joy and singing will be heard in the streets of Jerusalem and around the world. The Cantor will chant each in Hebrew, and those on the bima will recite the English.
- Nissuin (The Nuptuals). The ceremony now moves from betrothal to marriage. A second Kiddush is recited over wine with a first-time used Kiddush cup we will hereafter use on Shabbat in our home as a constant reminder of the vows we have taken.
- Kiddushin (Ring Ceremony). We exchange rings as an acknowledgement of the mutuality of our bonding. In Jewish law, a verbal declaration is not legally binding for a marriage; there must be an exchange of some object of known value.
- Ed and Eddie read “Love Stories We feel especially connected to and strengthened by two stories of our tradition, those of David and Jonathan and of Ruth and Naomi. We are inspired by the unparalleled commitment, sacrifice, and love that they recount. During our ceremony, we will offer this reading with gratitude that the stories are a part of our tradition.
- The Reading of the Ketubah. Together we read it again before the whole congregation.
- Wrapping in Tallit by a friend and blessing from Rabbi.
- Breaking of the Glass. When we break the glass at the end of the ceremony, we once again call upon Jewish tradition which informs us that even in times of greatest joy, we must remember that the world is still broken and in need of healing and repair. Our hope is that our marriage will last as long as it would take to piece together the broken bits of this glass.
At the sound of the glass breaking, it is customary for everyone witnessing to shout Mazel tov (“Good luck”) and for there to be joyous music and clapping.
- Recessional
3:45 Service Ends

- Yichud. After the recessional, we will have a few minutes of privacy to reflect on the significance of this day and of our joining. We will re-enter the world as a couple united in love and commitment, joining all of you in the outdoor patio.
3:45-4:30 Outdoor Reception (Champagne/Wine offered, passed hor’dourves and bar open)
4:30-8:30: Seudat Mitzvah (Celebration). Jewish law considers it a religious imperative to rejoice with the married couple. Everyone will be invited to join hands, dance, and have loads of fun. And please, eat, eat, eat!
4:30 Doors Open to Social Hall; "Manhattan Towers", six piece band begins playing
- People find their table. Each table has a musical show name and is decorated with props from that musical done by TheatreWorks.
4:45 Horas, chair lifts, Jewish dancing.
- Salads delivered to tables as guests dance
5:05 Salad course begins
- Motzi (blessing of bread) by friends
5:30 Dance set of Motown, classic rock and show tunes
5:50 Main course begins.
Entres served as guest are seated.
6:30 Toast. Eddie & Ed called up to dance. Everyone else invited to dance floor.
7:30 Cake Cutting; dessert served
- Eddie & Ed welcome everyone and thank them.
7:40 Final dance set begins of more Motown, classic rock and show tunes
8:25 Last Dance
8:30 Party Ends

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Last Wednesday evening E and I went to see “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia” by Edward Albee at ACT in San Francisco. It was an amazing production. We came out feeling shell-shocked and not quite knowing what we just saw. Nevertheless, it was brilliant. It explored the tension between the comic and tragic, and the real and the absurd. We’ve been talking about the show for days (mostly when we were tired of talking about the wedding).

Thursday we had a lunch meeting with our wedding coordinator to review the details. E had a seven-page schedule prepared of what is happening when from 1pm on Sunday afternoon to 8:30pm that evening. E is a very organized person and pays lots attention to detail. After Thursday’s evening meal, E finished the table cards for the sit down reception dinner.

Friday I took off from work. We picked up our tuxes and ran a bunch of errands during the day. That evening we had Shabbat dinner with our six kids. We started the weekend in a peaceful and joyous manner.

Saturday: Hair cuts for my three kids. My oldest daughter (20) ends up spending 6 hours at the hair salon having 5 dye jobs trying to get her hair presentable. E runs around getting a suit fixed for one of his boys. That evening we attended the rehearsal dinner for wedding party and family. Several long time friends of E host the party for us. Close to 50 people were there for a lovely California evening. (It threatened to rain earlier that day!) Towards the end of the evening we staged a quick tech rehearsal, jumping from cue to cue, of the following day’s wedding. We then passed out thank you notes to everyone in the wedding party. We celebrated the close of the party and the end of the Sabbath with a Havdalah ceremony under the oak trees in their backyard. It was beautiful.

Sunday morning started with a breakfast of bagels. At 10 a.m. we got a call from one of the couples in the wedding. A close relative was gravely ill and they could not attend. Another couple graciously offered to stand in their place. By 12:45 we were all dressed and ready to leave for synagogue for pictures with the photographer at 1pm.

Next entry, the wedding!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Words of welcome from our wedding program:
We are overjoyed that each of you is here today to share in this celebration and consecration of our love and our lives together. Our wedding is not just a private affair. In Judaism, it is so important to affirm our commitment in the context of a history and a community – both of which give real meaning and direction to our lives. What you will witness today is a combination of many traditions which generations before us have used to assert their love before God, family, and friends. You will also hear and see some modern additions that we believe are in keeping with our tradition while also defining our own unique relationship in 2005.

While we follow the footsteps of many Jewish couples before us, we also know that ours is a less-trodden path as a same-sex couple. Today we want to commit publicly our bond and love in the company of you, our friends and family, who have supported us in so many ways these past three years. We also want to affirm the ground-breaking stand Reform Judaism has taken that same sex unions are holy and valid. Finally, we want to proclaim by our and your presence that we all stand together in the belief that loving couples and families are of many sorts in America. Further, we today defy any so-called morality group to define for us what they see as the ‘only’ way for marriage to occur. May the time be not too distant that our state and federal governments understand and act to assure the fundamental right to marry for all Americans.

Mozel Tov!
At 3 pm on Father's Day Sunday, June 19th we were married in a Jewish wedding ceremony. More details and maybe pictures to come.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Menu for the wedding reception

Stuffed Grape Leaves
served warm and poached in lemon juice
filled with rice, lemon zest, mint, chopped apricots, and pine nuts
plattered on carrot curls

Endive Spears
with lima bean hummus

Goat Cheese Croustade
on walnut baguettes with fig tapenade

Coconut Crusted Chicken Morsels on Bamboo Forks
offered with plum mango chutney

Fatoush Salad on Romaine Hearts
a middle eastern specialty
cut romaine strips, diced cucumber and tomatoes,
scallions, mint, parsley, and simac
tossed with toasted pita cubes, Israeli feta, and a lemon mint vinaigrette

A Basket of Distinctive Breads
moroccan olive bread, potato rosemary,
cracker bread, and lavosh with za’tar

Filet of Salmon Wrapped in Bok Choy
poached in a miso-ginger marinade
offered with a mango papaya salsa in a radicchio cup

Basmati Rice and Rose Lentil Pilaf
tossed with scallions, toasted pine nuts, chopped apricots,
minced red peppers, and parsley

Chef’s Choice of Market Vegetables
braised in sesame oil and shallots

Grilled Vegetable Polenta Tower
layered with veggies, caramelized onions, and fontina cheese,
topped with a Portobello mushroom and carrot ribbons
offered with a sweet pea coulis and roasted red pepper coulis

All entrees decorated with herb salad and a “surprise” garnish

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Love Stories

We are going to read the following to each other in our wedding ceremony.

As we join together our lives, we feel especially connected to and strengthened by two stories of our tradition, those of David and Jonathan and of Ruth and Naomi. We are inspired by the unparalleled commitment, sacrifice, and love that they recount. We offer this reading with gratitude that the stories are a part of our tradition.

And the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
Naomi said to Ruth: Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods. Return after your sister-in-law.
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
But Ruth said: Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge.
And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, and even his sword, and his bow, and his girdle.
Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.
And Jonathan, the son of Saul, delighted much in David.
Thus may God do to me, and worse, for death alone shall part us.
Then Jonathan said to David, Whatever your soul desires, I will do for you.
When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped trying to dissuade her. So the two of them journeyed together until they arrived in Bethlehem.
And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
So Boaz married Ruth and God enabled her to conceive and she gave birth to a son. Naomi took the child and placed him on her lap; she became his caregiver.
And they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.
The neighbor women named him, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David.
And the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
Sources: I Samuel 18: 1, 3-4; 19:1; 10:4; 20:17; 20:41. Alternating with Ruth 1:15-18 and 4: 13-22. Inspired by a reading created by a member of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco.

Other gay Bible stories can be found at this blog entry:

Monday, June 13, 2005

Less than a week to go

We have nearly 200 family and friends who will be participating in our wedding and its celebration next Sunday. About 180 of them are staying for the catered sit down dinner. There are 18 tables of ten and each table is decorated with props from a different musical or play. A six piece band will have the guests on their feet dancing to Motown, classic rock and show tunes.

When we sent out our invitation we requested no gifts. However, if people should desire to honor our union with a contribution, we suggested one of the following:
- Facing History and Ourselves, Summer Institute Scholarships (teacher training program):
- Jewish Family and Children Services, LGBT Project:
- Congregation Beth Am, Kulanu Fund (LGBT outreach):
- TheatreWorks, New Works Initiative:

Additionally, we encourage all to offer support in the form of a membership to the Human Rights Campaign, a national, nonprofit organization of 500,000 members dedicated to protecting the rights of GLBT individuals and families: At the receiption we will have a table set up with information, brochures and posters from the above non-profit organizations.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Mr. Fabulously Interesting

I love Toby’s (Vividblurry) short piece about his Dad banging on his bedroom door to wake him up. Toby has perfectly captured one of those quintessential times between a son and a father. Our 16 year old son suffers through this every morning. And just because it is the weekend, is no excuse to spend all day in bed. Unfortunately, the 16 year old has not learned how to cover his tracks yet. He has been busted with alcohol and marijuana paraphernalia several times. He is grounded and lost his car privileges for the Summer.

Like Toby, our oldest son, 22, just graduated from a college in Washington DC. He is coming home in a week for our wedding. I think we will give him a break and let him sleep late.

I find Toby’s blog to be fascinating and enjoyable. It gives me a better appreciation of my own kids.

His critics, especially gay guys in their mid to late twenties, baffle me. If they were straight, they would be Republican Soccer Moms writing letters to the editor complaining of homosexual fornicators teaching their children in school.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Theatre and dance

While watching the Tony Awards, E and I decided we HAVE TO make a yearly trip to New York City to see shows. We already see about 40 to 50 shows a year in the Bay Area and we want to start attending the Oregon Shakespeare Festival too. Somehow we will figure out a way to do it.

Our large suburban Reform synagogue had a party Saturday night with 400-500 guests. In the social hall there was a dance band playing to a large group of couples dancing. The band was playing swing, soul and classic rock tunes. As far as I could tell, we were the only gay male couple dancing. Soon we were joined by two lesbian couples. Nobody had a problem. I didn’t see any stares, whispering, shaking of heads or abrupt leaving of the dance floor. It is nice to feel normal in mixed situation like that.

Friday, June 03, 2005

California gay marriage bill dies

The California State Assembly rejected legislation to legalize same-sex marriage yesterday. There is a drive on to put a constitutional ban on gay marriage before voters next year. All the hateful, anti-gay legislation around the country drives me nuts. These people don’t remember history.

The Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935 deprived German Jews of their rights of citizenship, giving them the status of "subjects" in Hitler's Reich. The laws also made it forbidden for Jews to marry or have sexual relations with Aryans or to employ young Aryan women as household help. (An Aryan being a person with blond hair and blue eyes of Germanic heritage.)
The first two laws comprising the Nuremberg Race Laws were: "The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor" (regarding Jewish marriage) and "The Reich Citizenship Law" (designating Jews as subjects).
Those laws were soon followed by "The Law for the Protection of the Genetic Health of the German People," which required all persons wanting to marry to submit to a medical examination, after which a "Certificate of Fitness to Marry" would be issued if they were found to be disease free. The certificate was required in order to get a marriage license.
After the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, a dozen supplemental Nazi decrees were issued that eventually outlawed the Jews completely, depriving them of their rights as human beings.Source:

After the American Civil War most states in the South passed anti-African American legislation. These became known as Jim Crow laws. The term was generally identified with those racist laws and actions that deprived African Americans of their civil rights by defining blacks as inferior to whites, as members of a caste of subordinate people. This included laws that discriminated against African Americans with concern to attendance in public schools and the use of public and private facilities. The Reconstruction governments removed the bans on interracial marriages, but many southern states reinstated these laws after 1876, and some states even wrote anti-miscegenation provisions into their state constitutions. Some states passed so-called miscegenation laws banning interracial marriages. These bans were, in the opinion of some historians, the "ultimate segregation laws." They clearly announced that blacks were so inferior to whites that any mixing of the two threatened the very survival of the superior white race.

It doesn’t take much imagination to replace Jew or African American with Homosexual and then you have the views of today’s Republican legislator or “born again” minister.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

End of May

Memorial Day weekend was another kid’s weekend. I had my two young kids for the three day weekend. My oldest daughter (20) was around for much of the weekend before she left for a summer session at college. On Saturday we bought dresses and shoes for both daughters to wear to our wedding. For both the six-year old and twenty year old, the shoes cost twice what the dresses cost. We got lucky with the dresses, they both were on sale. Sunday we took the two young ones to see the SF Giants lose another baseball game. Monday was a BBQ and pool party at my parent’s house. We had an early birthday celebration for my son. He turns nine next week.

Tuesday night E made a special dinner for the two of us. He had a new recipe he wanted to try out:
-- Herbed goat cheese stuffed chicken breasts with a port cherry sauce
-- Garlic Brussels sprouts, halved and seared
-- Fresh corn, lightly in milk
-- Young Romaine with crudités and oil & vinegar
-- 2000 Russian River Zinfandel
It was a terrific meal.
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