Aliyah l’Chupah: A Matter of Taste

Tonight I felt like a food critic. No, let me rephrase that: tonight I WAS a food critic. One of six. Or 60. Depending upon your perspective.

Around here it is fairly common to come a month or so before a wedding or other event (Aaaah! Are we nearly that close? Time is flying like crazy!) to taste the various options and select your favorites for the menu. Being the laid-back type that I am, I’m happy to let others make those choices. If you don’t believe me, here’s a true story:

As we prepared for Eitan’s bar mitzvah, the caterer kept on sending me the menu to make choices from, and I kept on not responding to him. Partly because the menu was in Hebrew, and partly because – well, it was in Hebrew. Finally he called me up and asked me what I wanted. I said, “Remember the Sherman bar mitzvah you did 2 months ago?”


“They have good taste. Just serve whatever you served then.” And that’s what they did.

Back to tonight. The hall, where the wedding will be, organizes monthly ‘tasting nights’ where all of the upcoming brides, grooms, in-laws, and what-have-yous come to the hall for a fully-catered dinner of tastings. It was rather interesting to see the hall filled with tables, fully set with centerpieces and the works, yet every tablecloth was a different color. Took me a minute to realize this wasn’t a rainbow motif, but rather a chance to see every color imaginable against the carpet. Good plan because silver, our accent color, looked hideous. Shyra picked gold.

Dinner was an opportunity to get really close with the in-laws. After all, we all wanted to taste everything so we just passed the plates around clockwise – and ate right from them.

The conversation at the table went something like this: “What do you think of this fish?”

“Too spicy.”

“Not spicy enough.”

“What’s with all the cilantro? Tell them to use parsley on our food instead.”

“Let’s go with the yellow rice.”

“The yellow rice has that weird spice.”

Naturally, you have six people at the table, you get six opinions. At least…

A few interesting foods showed up on our table such as ‘mixed grill.’ You don’t really want to know or think about what your eating when that’s on your plate. But the word innards came up… Have no fear: if you are at our wedding you can be fairly certain that mixed grill will NOT be making an appearance there…

After each course we debated the value of each dish. And sometimes the value in NOT serving it. Such as the roasted garlic. After all, the hosts have to kiss everyone, not just the ones who skipped the garlic.

Happily we were able to decide on a menu with all six opinions present. We were patient and generous with each other, and quite accommodating. We made up a detailed list, and turned it in to the caterer. Though personally I’m not quite sure why WE were the ones to choose the food; of all the people who will be at the wedding, we six will most likely eat the least. Yes, I do know why we had to choose. Because the Sherman’s haven’t made a wedding yet.

About the Author

Laura Ben-David is the author of numerous articles and the book, MOVING UP: An Aliyah Journal, a memoir of her move to Israel. She has done public speaking about Israel and Aliyah all over the United States and Israel. Contact her at or follow her tweets at