Here comes the 'bride'

Jenna Kauf­man and Gil Rosen, both 12 years old, played the roles of the bride and groom dur­ing a mock Jew­ish wed­ding on March 3 at Con­greg­a­tions of Shaare Shamay­im. (Tom War­ing)

Peggy Kauf­man was a happy moth­er of the bride at a re­cent wed­ding at Con­greg­a­tions of Shaare Shamay­im.

“I was telling my friends at work that my daugh­ter was get­ting mar­ried, and they said, ‘What?’ ”

Kauf­man’s co-work­ers were stunned at the an­nounce­ment be­cause Jenna Kauf­man is just 12 years old.

The Kaufmans are mem­bers of the syn­agogue, at 9768 Ver­ree Road in Bustleton.

Jenna at­tends its Hei classes for 12- and 13-year-olds.

Andi Miller, the teach­er, and Jacques Lurie, the syn­agogue’s ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or and re­li­gious school prin­cip­al, de­cided in Decem­ber to give the stu­dents a chance to per­form a mock Jew­ish wed­ding.

Jenna and Gil Rosen, 12, be­came the bride and groom when their names were picked out of a hat.

The big day was Sunday, March 3.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Jenna said be­fore walk­ing down the aisle. “I’m nervous, but it’s worth it.”

The three months lead­ing up to the nup­tials were not only fun, but edu­ca­tion­al.

“We’re learn­ing the tra­di­tions of a Jew­ish wed­ding, and everything that is ne­ces­sary,” Jenna said.

“We learned how you get mar­ried and how everything works,” Gil said.

Jenna, a sixth-grader at Poquess­ing Middle School in the Ne­sham­iny School Dis­trict, wore a white gown.

“It’s really slow to walk in, but it’s so pretty,” she said.

Jenna and the oth­er girls in the wed­ding party wore cloth­ing donated by Madis­on West, own­er of Yes to the Dress, a Hunt­ing­don Val­ley boutique.

Gil, a sev­enth grader at Louis H. Far­rell Ele­ment­ary School in Bell’s Corner, said his bride looked “pretty.”

Gil and the oth­er boys wore cloth­ing donated by Bon­nie Gre­isler, own­er of the Mens & Boys Store, in Hunt­ing­don Val­ley. He thought he looked “snazzy” in his black tuxedo and white vest and bow tie. Es­pe­cially the bow tie.

“If I could,” he said, “I would wear one every day.”

Jenna said, “He looks good. He has good taste in bow ties.”

Gil was happy to play the role of the groom, his mom said.

“He’s been really, really ex­cited since the be­gin­ning,” Bon­nie Rosen said.

Rabbi Jean Claude Klein per­formed the wed­ding ce­re­mony in the sanc­tu­ary. In ad­di­tion to the bless­ings and read­ings, he used the word “pre­tend” on a few oc­ca­sions so Jenna and Gil didn’t get mar­ried for real.

Jenna and Gil and the bridal party took part in all the wed­ding day tra­di­tions of pray­ing, fast­ing, break­ing their fast, singing, dan­cing, jok­ing, clap­ping hands and sign­ing a wed­ding con­tract.

The groom also placed a veil over the bride’s face, a cus­tom that comes from the bib­lic­al story of Jac­ob, who was tricked in­to mar­ry­ing Leah, dressed in a heavy veil, in­stead of his true love, Rachel.

At the end of the ce­re­mony, Gil broke a glass with his foot, a re­mind­er of the sad­ness in the world and the losses of the Jew­ish people, but also a rep­res­ent­a­tion that the bond between hus­band and wife can­not be broken.

“Oth­ers ex­plain that this is the last time the groom gets to put his foot down,” one of the Hei stu­dents told the crowd.

Either way, guests shouted, “Mazel Tov!” at the break­ing of the glass, and the cel­eb­ra­tion was on.

Every­one gathered in the aud­it­or­i­um for cake, soda, oth­er food, en­ter­tain­ment and a toast from Rabbi Klein. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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