We just got back from a fascinating trip to Jerusalem, but that's not what I'm going to write about. Still collecting my thoughts on that one. However, the night before we left we attended a Khutbeh (engagement party) of the sister of some good friends. The engagement ceremony is formal and includes dancing, cake, and fancy dresses. It is much like a wedding, just not quite so ostentatious. It involves the parents agreeing to the marriage, jewelry, and lots of pictures. After this ceremony the couple is now allowed to date, be seen in public as a couple, and start preparing for the wedding.
The family of the bride-to-be includes seven sisters, one of whom lives in America. I'll call her R. As her baby sister is going to be married, she wanted to be part of the Khutbeh. Another sister brought her laptop with a USB internet connection and set up Skype for the duration of the ceremony.
As sister S was dancing with her fiance, sister R was also dancing in a fancy dress, in her dining room in California, right along with her. It was a beautiful site. The seven sisters were all in tears, so happy to share this moment as a family, even though R was so far away. The family moved the laptop around the room, swaying to the music, offering her cake, and did everything they could to have her participate.
As one who lives far away from family, I was really touched by the family unity I saw and grateful for the way technology has helped us all feel a little closer.
~ Um Tulip