Like many people, I have a large extended family whom I don't see very often. To set the picture for anyone who's interested: My father Joel had one brother, Sam, and two sisters, Debby and Miriam. Debby married Rabbi Abraham J. Karp (my uncle Avram) and had two sons, Hillel and David, both of whom are somewhat older than I am. Hillel married Arlene, and David married Barbara. The wedding yesterday was of Hillel's oldest son Joshua Yale Karp and Rona Susan Behar, whom he met in college and who grew up in Sharon, Massachusetts. Because of that proximity, the wedding was held at Temple Emanuel in Newton, meaning that it was very easy for Nomi and me to attend.
Now, I have to admit that I don't know Joshua very well; I can't even recall the last time I saw him, although I'm sure we must have met at some point. But a family wedding is a simcha, and the last time I saw most of these family members was at the funeral of my uncle Avram in 2003. To note the blindingly obvious, weddings are more enjoyable than funerals, so I really wanted to make a point of attending.
One of the things I delighted in was finding out about the lives of my first cousins, once removed. Joshua has a younger brother Aaron and younger sister Rachel. Aaron is majoring in Urban Studies at Columbia, and we got to talking about New York City history. Rachel will be starting at Columbia next year. I also met David and Barbara's daughter Beth, who has been studying musical composition, which fascinates me. (I apologize to any cousins I fail to remember; as I kept joking during the wedding, I really could have used a scorecard with photographs.)
I also had a great time chatting with two of Joshua's college friends, Andy Lebwohl and Steven Branco. What prompted the conversations was that I saw Andy carrying a copy of the Crisis on Infinite Earths trade paperback. I couldn't let that pass, so I introduced myself, and we started to talk all about comic books and the current Infinite Crisis. His friend Steven isn't a comic book reader, but is an aficionado of the TV show 24, so that's what we talked about.
In fact, we managed to make a shidduch because of that. One of the older guests, a Mr. Stein, had missed last week's episode, and Steven might still have access to it on a friend's TiVo. So I introduced them, and if all goes well, Mr. Stein will get a copy of the episode so he can stay on track.
But back to family. Nomi and I ended up seated at what we decided was a "cousins" table. We met brothers Ari Rabinowitz and David Rabinowitz, whose mother was the sister of my grandfather Rabbi Abraham Burstein. (I think.) Ari is a Vice President at Bear Stearns, David does a lot of volunteer work in Washington DC and in Oregon, and their middle brother Moshe (who was not there) is a set builder on Long Island. We also met cousins of Arlene's, Seth Alper & Roberta Isberg and their son. They are local and they seemed very familiar, and I wish I knew if we had met them before. Lydia Feldman was also at the table, and Freda Alper, and Naomi Alper, who are all cousins of Arlene's. (I think.)
As for the bride, it turned out that we had a connection to her as well. Back in 1993, I taught her brother Ari, who was in my Center for Talented Youth (CTY) Astronomy class in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. And it so happens that we ran into Ari at a shabbas lunch about a year ago.
All in all, it was a joyous wedding. I'm very glad that we were invited, and I wish Joshua & Rona many years of happiness together. I also hope that my cousins do get in touch with me soon, even if it's just to share their contact information.