The title was meant to get your attention, not to make a joke about something so serious. Honestly, I never intended to write publicly about my son’s marriage to his love, his partner in life. But because of a certain rabbi (whom I will not make worthy by naming him), I have decided to add my voice to those who support my child and to all those who, like him, seek to start a Jewish family. in a Jewish state or elsewhere in the world for that matter.
Last month, on a beautiful hill in the mountains of Jerusalem, surrounded by more than 200 friends and family members, some from all over the world, my son and his husband were married in a bespoke service written by a close friend, one who is truly a member of the family as she and her husband were my son’s adoptive family when he served as a single combat soldier in the IDF. Yes, my son and his husband both served as lone soldiers, defenders of the Jewish homeland, the holy land. (I certainly don’t see anyone complaining about being protected by my son.) Beneath the chuppah, friends and family gave them the blessing for a long and happy marriage, not a happy gay marriage, but a happy and lasting of two people who love each other.
As my husband and I happily accompanied our son to the chuppah, tears came to my eyes, unexpectedly overwhelmed by the realization that my sweet son was getting what he had always wanted, a partner to share his life with. . But that wasn’t the only reason my tears were flowing; When he first came to see us, my biggest worry was that he might never have what his heart really wanted – to be an observant Jew with a partner he could be married to and children he could raised in a practicing community. I feared he would have to give up his Jewish observance to have the family he wanted. I’ve told him many times over the past few years how lucky he was to have come of age at a time when he could get married and have children. And how wonderful that he has found a warm and welcoming community to be a part of. It couldn’t have been more evident when I watched them, their friends, their community, Daven Mincha before the ceremony.
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Since we announced her engagement, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some people, friends and acquaintances, who have wished us a mazel tov, people I didn’t think would be “ok” with such a union. And I can’t tell you how many people came up to me at the reception to tell me how meaningful the ceremony was and how they cried with joy. This beautiful ceremony was followed by a fantastic party where they were celebrated with lots of ruach, dancing and schtick. A joyful addition to a very special ceremony.
As for those who would publicly denounce and disdain the building of a Jewish family, I decided long ago and I don’t care what others think. Unfortunately, I know my son was hurt by some he thought were friends who decided to voice their disapproval. I wish no harm to any of these people, but I wish them to go. Away from my son and his husband, and away from anyone else they might hurt.
Over the past few years, I have seen their partnership grow stronger and their love for each other grow and mature. How dare you tell them that their love isn’t real or “normal”. They can’t wait to add kids to their family and I know that one day they will be great parents – my son will be the sweetest, the one the kids will go to when they want an immediate yes, my son-in-law… Law will pretend to be the toughest parent, but in the end will also be a softy. We can’t wait.
May my children and the children of all be blessed to build a faithful home among Israel. PJC
Stacie Rojas Stufflebeam is the mother of five sons, four of whom are lone veteran IDF soldiers. She is the executive director of the Michael Levin Lone Soldier Foundation. and lives with her husband in Pittsburgh. This first appeared on Times of Israel.