This blog usually sticks to politics—medical and national, but this Labor Day weekend was a special one in the Zwelling-Kleinerman household. Our youngest son Andrew married the fabulously beautiful, smart, and caring Danielle Rogozinski the youngest daughter of Dr. Chaim and Jeanine Rogozinski of Jacksonville, Florida. The newlywed’s story is the best thing to come out of Covid.
About two years ago, both Danielle and Andrew were considering moving to New York City in hopes that the Jewish dating scene there would be more welcoming than the single life in Jacksonville or Houston during the pandemic. Then they both made prophetic decisions. They decided to enlarge their catchment area on J-swipe, a Jewish dating app, to 1000 miles. They clicked.
They began a relationship on Zoom with Andrew sending catered dinners to Danielle as they talked over the internet eating similar meals. Then came the fateful first visit to Jacksonville with Andrew calling us after the first few days asking if we could care for his dog Onyx a bit longer back in Houston as he wanted to stay with Danielle for a while longer in Jacksonville. He met the family and they liked him. Danielle came to Houston. We loved her and so did Onyx. This all led to a diamond ring, a proposal in Savannah, and a gala weekend in Jacksonville where the Rogozinski and Zwelling families linked through the newlyweds.
Now, the Rogozinski clan is a large one with Dr. C (Chaim) being a true patriarch as a prominent orthopedic surgeon who is in practice with his brothers, a nephew and two more next generation Rogos in training to join the group. It is the largest father-son orthopedic practice in the country. This was a major melding of two medical families though neither Andrew nor Danielle is bogged down by that medical baggage.
We started by flying into Jacksonville on Thursday, September 1 and arriving at the TPC Sawgrass Marriott where many of the festivities were to take place. Friday was Danielle’s bridal shower and Saturday blessings at synagogue and a rehearsal dinner that served as the party for our 50th wedding anniversary that we had delayed until that night. How much better than a gathering with friends and family can you get to celebrate such a milestone? Andrew and Danielle even got us a special cake—two cakes—a 5 and a 0. The 5 was dairy-free so lactose-intolerant me could eat it.
Sunday was the big event and Jeanine Rogozinski knows how to throw a party. The synagogue ballroom looked about as far away from a house of worship as you could get. The service was spectacular and the band was aces. Genie and I did our heavily-practiced foxtrot to Nat King Cole’s L-O-V-E classic and it was all caught on video. (Thanks to dance instructor extraordinaire Vickie Dunn.) The hora was a long one with bride, groom, and parents on chairs rocking to the ceiling. One of the great results of the advent of cell phones is that we saw videos of our dancing and stills of everything that night. It ended with the traditional mezinka. This is a ceremony where the four parents sit in chairs and are surrounded by the guests in celebration of both houses being emptied of dependent children. Now what could be more Jewish?
The getaway bunch Monday morning back at the Marriott gave people a chance to say their final goodbyes after a spectacular event. Major kudos to Jeanine and the BW for the most meticulousness of planning and the fortitude for great execution.
Obviously, there were many highlights especially our dance which really shocked our friends and family. It was my father who was the great dancer, not me, but I tried to conjure up some of his magic and with Genie’s and Vickie’s help maybe we did. Genie is a natural. Me, not so much. It took a lot of work, but it was all worthwhile.
At the rehearsal dinner, both Genie and I spoke. She went through the long litany of how baseball cemented the bond between mother and son from Andrew’s earliest days to Astros games now. During my speech, I surprised Andrew by unveiling his first pair of Nikes which I had saved in case Cooperstown came calling instead of Danielle. He has them now.
But, on Friday morning Andrew calls via Facetime.
“Dad, I just got a present that will make you jealous.”
“What, did you buy a Porsche?”
He then opens a small box and displays a real Christian Laettner Duke basketball jersey signed by Laettner himself that was given to him by his personal trainer. Andrew, in fact, shares a gym with the greatest Duke basketball player ever and they are acquainted. Christian bought the shirt himself for Andrew at the suggestion of the trainer. Great gift!
He was right. I was jealous.
This blog tends to focus on problems and tries to advance some solutions. Not today. I am still buzzing from a great weekend and thrilled with my new, extended family.