Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Some Like It Loud

I read with interest the recent “Is It Proper?” feature about loud music at frum weddings (May 31). Like your respondents, I, too, am not enamored with the clamour. Despite that, I felt that the responses were preaching to the choir, the quiet choir, as they were chosen from a demographic that is generally known not to enjoy loud music and which decries modern music styles. I would have found the article to be more informative if it had included the viewpoints of an experienced wedding bandleader, and a 23-year-old bachur who spends his nights attending his friends’ weddings. Perhaps they could have shed some light on their enjoyment and production of decibel-shattering music.


Rabbi Chayim Lando
Baltimore, MD


Take A Stand Against The Band

Is the music at weddings too loud? I am something of a nerd. At weddings I regularly measure the volume of the music; it is regularly 80 decibels or louder. How does that feel to your ears? Do they hurt? Mine hurt.

What is even worse than the music during the dancing is the music during the breaks. I have no idea how many times I have been at weddings where it was simply impossible to talk to the guy across the table. Either you shout into the ear of the person sitting next to you or you don’t talk to anyone.

Is there any reason for the volume to be so high during the dancing? Maybe, if people enjoy that type of thing, who am I to criticize? But during the breaks, why? Is there any reason whatsoever to have any music? If there must be, then without a doubt the music volume has to be low, something that allows even the people sitting near the speakers to converse normally.

What to do about it? There was an Israeli journalist named Adir Tzik, z”l, who had a program on Arutz 7. Like me, he also intensely disliked music blasting out at these volumes. His solution: If the music is too loud, thank your hosts for the invitation, wish the new couple a mazel tov, and leave the wedding. That is the only way to get the message across. Yes, there is a mitzvah to bring joy to the new couple, but that doesn’t mean that one has to suffer in order to fulfill the mitzvah.

Ben Waxman
Ariel, Israel


Some Humble Wedding Proposals

Your recent feature, in which you asked several individuals whether the music is too loud at weddings, inspired me to suggest a few other changes that families who are planning weddings might consider:

  1. At virtually every wedding I now attend, there is a group of friends of the bride and groom who will cheer loudly during the processional when their friends walk down the aisle. Whoops and clapping from the audience are now the norm. When did this become part of a Jewish wedding ceremony? Shouldn’t the ceremony be treated a little bit more seriously? Can’t these young adults save their cheers for a baseball game?
  2. Usually, a Jewish wedding features a well-known vocalist with a beautiful voice as part of the band. Why limit his singing at the ceremony to “Mi Adir” and “Im Eshkacheich?” He can also sing to the melodies being used by the bride and groom when they march down the aisle.
  3. There are many opportunities for women to participate in the wedding ceremony and remain faithful to halachic standards. Why aren’t more Modern Orthodox wedding ceremonies featuring women under the chuppah? A woman could read the ketubah, serve as the emcee and introduce the people being given the honor of reciting the sheva berachot, or deliver a speech offering words of blessing to the bride and groom.
  4. Weddings are much too long. I can’t remember the last time I stayed at a wedding through the bentching and sheva berachot, an important part of the event. May I suggest that more people plan to schedule bentching and sheva berachot immediately after the main course is served. Then you can have more dancing and desserts for those who wish to stay.
  5. And speaking of changing the schedule, maybe there is a way to avoid the 45-minute wait for the bride and groom to take photos together that we all must deal with after the chuppah. May I suggest the following schedule: a) Begin with a very short cocktail portion for a half-hour where drinks are served and the chosson’s tisch is held; b) then have the bedeken and wedding ceremony; c) follow the ceremony with a light smorgasbord for an hour, while the bride and groom take photos; d) finally, everyone gathers together for the seudah, and the dining and dancing can begin immediately, without a wait.
  6. I have noticed that at many weddings I attend, the friends of the bride and groom hijack the dancing at the beginning of the first dance, and thus family members don’t get a chance to dance with the bride and groom until later. May I humbly suggest that we allow family members the honor of dancing with the bride and groom for the first 10 minutes in the inner circle – and only after that should friends of the bride and groom get their opportunity for some revelry.

Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT

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