So we’re expanding the family, and it is only appropriate that Daniel is marrying a Sephardic woman. Many years ago, when baby Simone was growing up in Rome, she was tended to by a great pediatrician who noted Simone’s large melanin deposit on her hip, and said to Barbara and me, “ah, you’re Sephardim.” That birth mark was unmistakable evidence. So, although we did not know it at the time, it had been appropriate for us to have married in the Sephardic synagogue in Rome. In yet another symbolically appropriate event, we were married by the great Italian rabbi Augusto Segre, after whom Daniel August Ledeen was named (Daniel was born the day Augusto died). And Augusto’s children, who live in Israel, were at the Henna Ceremony and will be at the wedding. Still more Sephardim.
There is more still. I recently gave a DNA sample to a group that tracks your ancestry, and it seems I had a relative who lived in northern Sicily in the twelfth century. So there!
All in all, the expansion of our family is as much a reassertion of who we are as it is a new departure. We’re of course delighted, and that dark henna circle on my palm feels very comfortable.
Jerusalem is a city of miracles, and all our American guests have overcome the blizzard of 2010 and are being rewarded with great weather, great food and great music. It all reminds me of my favorite line from Golda Meir. She was once asked how Israel manages to defeat her enemies despite the enormous numerical advantage held by the Jews’ foes. “There are two ways,” she answered. “There’s the natural way and the miraculous way. The natural way is that God sends a miracle and we win. And the miraculous way is that somehow we do it by ourselves.”
There you have it.