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A henna’va party after all



Last week, I mentioned that my son was marrying a Yemenite girl and that we had no idea what to expect from the henna party. And that whereas we might be letting go of a lot of our preconceived notions of weddings and celebrations, we were still holding on to what was important. I might have thought I knew what I was talking about, but in truth, I had no idea.

Because no sooner had we arrived at the party than our son had an allergic reaction to something, went into anaphylactic shock, and was rushed by Magen David Adom to the closest major hospital where his life was saved.

Talk about things that are important.

In what has to be the most “ashkenaz” move ever, he had apparently eaten a banana a few moments before we arrived at the party. When we tried to hug him hello, he mentioned that something was wrong, and that he was having some sort of reaction.

His eyes were already streaming, and his body began to itch. Welts started to appear all over his torso and arms. It took a few minutes for his tongue to swell, by which time the paramedics were on the way. They took one look at him, got him into the intensive-care ambulance, and started to work on him.

Although I attempted to be the one to go with him in the ambulance, it took about a minute for my wife to throw me out the back and climb in herself, giving me strict instructions to make sure that I represented the family at the function.

It was pretty solid thinking in that I would undoubtedly have suffered from FOMO (fear of missing out) and would have tried to convince them to put in a quick “tracheostomy” so that we could get back to the party. Failing that, I’ve seen enough movies to know that an orange Bic pen is all we would need if things got a bit hairy.

Three hours later, legal waivers having been signed, an epi pen in his pocket, he did return, looking even more pale than when he left.

What had he missed? The most incredible food, dancing, and energy. But the warmth and the celebration that he returned to was indescribable, as once again, we were reminded about what was important.

As was the whole country. Because at the very same time that Ben was fighting the ultimate battle, so too were innocent civilians in Tel Aviv. A few kilometres away, while some were dancing and others eating, and a few were battling to breathe, a terror attack was taking place.

As I waited for information on my son, news of the shootings started to filter through. At the emergency room, my wife watched in horror as the staff readied themselves for what was to follow.

On Shabbat morning, as is tradition ahead of a wedding, Ben was called up to the Torah. In this case, not only did he intone the “normal” prayer, he added a blessing of gratitude for someone who has survived an ordeal that might have, but for the grace of G-d, ended differently.

Ben and Yuval are married. The wedding was magnificent, the Shabbat was wonderful and meaningful, and the henna party although fantastic, wasn’t what we expected. For so many reasons. All of them reasons we can be grateful for.

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  1. Wendy Kaplan Lewis

    Apr 14, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    Amazing special article
    Biggest Mazaltov to you all

  2. Sharon Klugman

    Apr 18, 2022 at 9:29 am

    Mazeltov, love your articles especially the humour. My granddaughter Cami and hubby Roei married in Haifa, also had a henna party which was great fun. TG your son’s ok. Mazeltov again.

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