‘Crowdsourcing’ just a new term for ‘it takes a village’by lilit marcus, jta
|Follow j. on||and|
When Amanda Melpolder began planning her wedding to Jeff Greenberg, she hoped the ceremony would be unlike others.
Melpolder had become involved in an independent minyan in Brooklyn after converting to Judaism several years ago, and she and Greenberg wanted their June wedding to reflect the prayer group’s community spirit and sense of do-it-yourself camaraderie.
“Since our Jewish community is one that we created and are actively part of, it made sense that our wedding would be the same theme, with people leading different parts of the ceremony,” she said.
Such participatory approaches to wedding planning might seem like a feature of the information age but may be just the latest incarnation of an older Jewish tradition.
“The word ‘crowdsourcing’ is a new word for an old thing,” said artist Nahanni Rous, who creates custom chuppahs, or wedding canopies.
“We are pretending that we just invented this idea of the shtetl. It’s like everybody would come to the wedding, and that was how a community got together to celebrate.”
In other words, it has always taken a village. It’s just that now the village looks quite different.
Based in Washington, D.C., Rous often incorporates crowdsourcing into her work, such as asking friends to submit fabric swatches.
Her chuppah-making career began at her own wedding. She and husband Ned Lazarus, who met in Israel and married in 2004, had two ceremonies, in Jerusalem and New Hampshire, to accommodate friends in far-flung locales. Each guest was asked to bring fabric that was pinned to a sheet at the wedding.
“We had people from every region of Israel and the Palestinian territories at the ceremony. We had everything from a kippah with a Magen David knitted on it to a Palestinian flag to a piece of someone’s wedding dress and a map,” Rous said. “It was a really beautiful hodgepodge.”
Since then, Rous has worked with couples to create custom chuppahs, incorporating everything from traditional Jewish symbols to quotes from poets.
Be the first to comment!