How would you celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary? Get married? That’s what this love stories about.
When Ludmila Golfeld and Boris Shpolberg met in Odessa Ukraine, Russia, it was under communist rule and in 1962, when they decided to marry; no one was allowed to marry according to any religious custom. Doing so would doom them to the gulag and most likely, certain death. Couples only option, if they wanted to marry, was a civil ceremony; so that’s what Ludmila and Boris did.
In 1996 the Shpolberg’s came to live in the United States and began to assimilate into our culture. They became members of Rabbi Kelman’s Congregation Ahabat Sholom in Lynn. On a bright, sunny day, November 27, 2012, Rabbi Kelman joined Ludmila Golfeld Shpolberg and Boris Shpolberg in holy matrimony.
This was a celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary and they were finally married in a traditional Jewish ceremony surrounded by family and friends.
Before the ceremony, all the men guests and two Orthodox Jewish men witnessed the signing of the ketubah, which is a Jewish marriage contract. After completion of this contract, traditionally a member of the family breaks a plate, so Ludmila and Boris’s daughters, Inga and Angela, dropped a plate to the floor. Pieces of the plate are said to bring good luck or perhaps marriage to anyone who keeps a piece of the broken plate.
Then the group moves on to join the rest of the guests to witness the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony.
This takes place beneath the canopy called a chupah, which is supported by four posts and is open on all four sides for guests to witness from all over the world. The chupah signifies the future house or home of the bride and groom. While under the chupah, sips are taken from two cups of wine before vows are made. The groom places a plain-unadorned, gold ring on the bride’s index finger. There are seven blessings given wherein the bride circles the groom. There are several interpretations of the significance of this practice.
I like to think in circling the groom seven times, the bride and groom no longer have any walls standing between them and will have a close and loving marriage. The groom then breaks a glass with his right foot and vows to honor and provide for his wife; he then presents her with the ketubah. In Judaism this symbolically affirms the wife’s dignified status.
The ceremony ends with the smashed glass and everyone yells Mazal Tov. The bride and groom kiss and they are now married in the eyes of God.
The Shpolberg’s grandchildren, Inga’s sons, Dennis Averin and Gregory Vinitsker, and Angela’s daughter, Maria Shpolberg, were on hand to witness this wedding ceremony and also helped with the translations when necessary.
Now that the serious parts had been taken care of, time came for the festivities. The merrymaking began with toasting to the health and happiness of the bride and groom. A magnificent feast, fit for a king, was spread before the guests. This banquet was prepared by Liora and some of her many friends who always pitch in for occasions such as this and help to make them a grand success.
Liora is the wife of Rabbi Kelman.