Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Mixed Marriage

Here's the story:-

Ms. Harris, who was for six years of living in Jerusalem a director of program and resource development with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and led the World Union of Jewish Students, met a Mr. Sabir over early morning coffee at a hotel bar in Oujda, Morocco.

Mr. Sabir, a human- and legal-rights advocate in Morocco, had organized a series of workshops on pending reforms to the country’s criminal procedure code. Ms. Harris, an international human rights lawyer, was a guest speaker.

During a late night stroll through the town square in Marrakesh, surrounded by snake charmers, fortunetellers and musicians, their professional bond turned personal.

“She stood looking at me, I put my hand in her hand, and that was it,” said Mr. Sabir, who is now the executive director of Partners for Human Rights, a newly formed Morocco-based organization, and also a project director with the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, a research institute in Washington.

The match was not without its troubles. Ms. Harris was not the type of Jewish girl who spent her youth fantasizing about her wedding. She was too focused on changing the world, a “Muslim Moroccan guy wasn’t on the list of possibilities,” Ms. Harris said.

Hadar Harris, though in love, remained wary. She ended the relationship twice — the first time in London, because she was hung up over their religious and cultural differences, the second time in Washington, because she was hung up over the idea of marriage. After the second breakup, in 2004, Mr. Sabir, who described himself as “culturally Muslim, but not adherent to the type of Islam some people see and embrace today,” was chosen to be a United Nations monitor of the genocide in Sudan.

The couple exchanged vows on Aug. 13 at the Audubon Naturalist Society Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, Md., in a traditional Jewish ceremony with Moroccan flourishes. The wedding canopy was made of woven silk that the couple bought at a Moroccan bazaar. The ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract, included translations in English, Hebrew and Arabic. Instead of scullcaps, men wore colorful embroidered Moroccan hats.

The couple read — in Arabic and English — a poem by Ibn Arabi, the mystic Muslim philosopher who was born in the 12th century. “My creed is love” they recited. “Wherever its caravan turns along the way, love is my belief and is my faith.”

You just know what I think but I figured I'd give this story a twist.

Take a look at what's attached to the back of the woman in the blue dress.

What no modern Jewish marriage can do without under the Chuppah:

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