I am sure that you want to hear about The Wedding. Yes, we had been waiting for weeks, eagerly counting days until T’s brother’s marriage. For our kids, it was the first wedding in living memory.

But first there was the shopping.

I was the simplest. I just needed my standard dark pants, white shirt, maroon tie (yes, I am a deep winter), and kapote. (A kapote is a Prince Albert frock coat with some modifications. One is that the buttons are positioned so that the right side can be placed over the left, as we Jews prefer the right side, which is associated with kindness, over the left, associated with severity. Another unique feature is that the bottom corner on one side of the back vent is rounded, so that the coat does not have four corners—which would necessitate tzitzit fringes to be attached, as the Torah commands us to attach such fringes to all four-cornered garments.) All I needed to do was shine my shoes and sew on my missing buttons, and I was good to go.

T took a little bit more time. She needed to pick a dress online and have it tailored. Throw in a pair of shoes, and she was ready for the races.

Things were tougher when we got to the kids. Not because it is hard to outfit a kid. It really isn’t. But because we wanted the kids to match their cousins.

For the little boys, T and her sisters-in-law decided to buy matching vests. She found a nice vest online that is available only here in Canada, so everyone ordered their vests, and they showed up at our doorstep in their respective gray packages.

The girls’ dresses came by way of a gemach.

What is a gemach, you wonder? The word is actually a contraction of the Hebrew term gemilat chesed, which roughly translates as “act of kindness.” In Yiddish, a gemach is an interest-free loan. With time, it also came to refer to a free-loan society, or an organization that lends things out. (For example, for many years my great-grandfather ran a gemach that would lend money to Jews who were out of jobs due to their refusal to work on Shabbat, making it very hard for them to get a job in the six-day-week sweatshop industry where most of New York’s Jews were employed.) Born out of the desire to help others in any way, people have started gemachs for nearly everything that a person can ever think of borrowing. In my day I have come across tie gemachs for guys who need to look good for dates, folding-chair gemachs for people hosting events in their homes, and even a coin gemach for people who travel to foreign countries to dispose of/pick up loose change.

And then there are dress gemachs, where people can pick out bridal gowns, sister/mother-of-the-bride gowns, and frilly dresses for little girls. My sister-in-law picked up a bunch of dresses at the gemach in her town, and before you know it, all the little girls had matching cream gowns. Staffed by volunteers and funded by donations, their only stipulation was that the dresses be returned clean and with a minimal donation toward the upkeep of the gemach.

And with that, we were all ready for the wedding.

I am not sure what would be an interesting way to end this post, but it is almost Shabbat, and we have lots to do, so I will let you imagine a snarky thing for the kids to say or me to say about them. If you think of a good one, let me know, and I will use it to start a “smart ending” gemach full of good sign-offs for bloggers borrow when they really need to end a post and have nothing left to say.