by Maxine Benson
Originally featured in the autumn 2005 issue of JCC Circle.
The love story began at a parent orientation meeting. Caryn Frierich came to hear what the year would hold for her daughters, Jeri and Joie. Rob Mandel attended the same meeting to meet Spencer’s teachers. Little did they know that this preschool parent’s night would result in the first CDC wedding! Their children knowing each other and being friends didn’t hurt their relationship, either. It was easy to bring the two families together, since the younger members had already formed a bond at the JCC CDC.
Caryn and Rob, both divorced, wanted their wedding ceremony to be special and meaningful, not only for themselves, but for their children as well.
Because the JCC has played such an important role in all their lives, they chose the CDC as the place to start the next chapter. Other than a few family members, the children and the staff from the JCC and the campus were the only invited guests. In preparation, the preschoolers learned about Jewish weddings and created panels to decorate the chuppah. They participated in the celebration by joining in with the blessings and singing, and being excellent listeners and “witnesses.”
The beautiful ceremony was performed by Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn of the New Reform Temple, and Cantor Jeffrey Shron of Congregation Kehilath Israel. Jeri, Joie, and Spencer escorted Caryn and Rob down the aisle and remained standing by them under the chuppah.
Following the chanting of the blessings and sharing of the wine, the exchange of vows and rings, the breaking of the glass and the first kiss, Rob and Caryn heard a very loud Mazel Tov! Then they headed down the aisle to perform what was perhaps the most important part of the ceremony for their many young guests, cutting the delicious wedding cake.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Blayney, Sun Publications