WHILE coronavirus has halted almost all events, the simchas have gone on for a number of families, who have enforced responsible measures and embraced social distancing to ensure their days of celebration did not go amiss.
Chloe Beder and Marlon Plavin had planned for a big wedding in April. Invitations were sent to 360 people. Then COVID-19 struck, so they decided to bring the date forward to late March.
Yet as they sat with their families together on Sunday afternoon, with the situation continuing to rapidly worsen, the hopes of a wedding seemed to fade.
And so, the decision was made to marry – later that day – leaving just four hours to prepare.
“But we were determined … and within minutes we were trying to figure out what we were going to do about a chuppah. Our dads were running around Caulfield trying to find what are we going to do,” said Chloe.
Then, as she stood in her family backyard where the ceremony would take place, she looked up to see graceful tree branches, perfect chuppah poles. They were used together with Marlon’s late grandfather’s tallit as the canopy.
Within just a few hours, the families organised hair and make-up artists, a videographer and photographer. Meanwhile, Chloe’s aunt cooked a “beautiful” full dinner for the 20 guests – mainly immediate family – as the bridesmaids zipped around trying to find bouquets.
But they pulled it off, and “it was really special”, told Chloe, adding, “especially in the current environment”.
“It had a real community feel and atmosphere about it, how everyone just wanted to make it special for us. Both sets of parents were amazing so we are very thankful to them, and to Rabbi [Yaakov] Glasman who was so accommodating.”
Mused the rabbi, “It may have been just the immediate family in the backyard but there was no shortage of love and ruach!”
The wedding occurred prior to new regulations being announced on Tuesday night that limit such gatherings to less than five people.
The community spirit continued with the bar mitzvah of Baruch Waronker, the son of Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Colleges principal Dr Shimon Waronker, on Wednesday. But it wasn’t the typical celebration, the family turning to a ‘virtual simcha’.
Baruch recited his maamar, a Chassidic discourse on tefillin, to a worldwide audience thanks to online technology, told Waronker.
“Having just moved to Melbourne from America at the start of the year, we always knew we were going to be separated from some of our family for Baruch’s bar mitzvah, but now family and friends joined us from New York, New Jersey, Florida, California, Texas, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Israel and South Africa, together with our new Melbourne family.”
Baruch reflected, “Coronavirus won’t break us apart because we are all united. Everything is for the good – if this is how Hashem wanted it, then this is how it is.”