I don’t know about you, but the first section I read of the Sunday New York Times is the weddings section (aka Sunday Styles). Some people turn to Books, Sports, Op-Ed, or the front pages. Others go for the magazine. But I go for the most influential section: Weddings and Vows. And ever since I had a Summer share in the Hamptons (East Quogue) two decades ago, I have been mentally scoring each wedding using my “simcha index,” or as they say in the Five Towns of Long Island: Schlepping Nachos (or is that shepping nachas?)

Let me explain how this scoring works, and apply it to the past few weeks of NYT Wedding announcements.

A recent issue published 40 weddings, 10 of which were Jewish (25%). Last week had 28 weddings, 10 of which were Jewish (34%). Pesach weekend, remarkably there were no Jewish weddings, hehe, except for a reprise of a prior one, in which two Jews, one of whom is a professional clown and a graduate of clown college.

The scoring system is below, and I invite readers to add ideas for additional items for analysis. Cum laude graduates earn a point, as do yeshiva graduates. The children of rabbis and machars get points. Points are accumulated for each degree past the BA, and doctors and lawyers get special bonus points. Should a doctor marry a Hebrew School teacher, there is a special point; and should the bride’s or groom’s degrees be from ivy league universities, a point is gained.

For example, on April 13, The Times published six Jewish weddings out of 13 (nearly 50%). Amanda Fuchs wed Jeremy Miller in a DC wedding by Rabbi Namath (+1). The bride, who used to work for Senator Obama received a MPA from Harvard (+1 for Harvard, +1 for the MPA) and was checking out something like these all inclusive wedding packages northern ireland, as well as other places for their wedding. The groom, an attorney and son of a doctor, graduated from Brown (+3). Their total score was 6. Stephanie Schwab, a former hand-held, classy pornography entrepreneur, married Adam Gersacov. Schwab, an MBA (+1), married a professional clown, flea circus manager, and graduate of both clown college and Penn (+2). A rabbi officiated for these active synagogue members (+2). Their total score was 5. One bride was the daughter of a TV reporter and a former major league baseball pitcher, one owns a B&B, and one groom owns several famous Manhattan restaurants. But all slightly underscored the wedding of Emily Friedman and Grant Mogan at Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. A rabbi officiated (+1) for these two attorneys (+2), one of whom graduated cum laude (+1) and the other summa cum laude (+2). The groom’s father is not only a doctor, but a gastroenterologist (+1). Their total score was 7.

On April 27, The Times published 22 weddings and celebrations. But since it was Pesach, there were no Jewish weddings, except, luckily, one belated announcement for the wedding of Stephanie Pottruck and Aaron Goldman. By default, they were that week’s highest scoring couple in the simcha index. Best friends since their days at Penn (+2), they were nearly arrested together during a college prank (-1). He graduated magna cum laude (+2). Both always dated other people, and remained friends. The bride, the daughter of the former CEO of a Fortune 500 company (no points, he ain’t no doctor), had nearly 400 at her Waldorf=Astoria wedding by Rabbi Eckstein (+2) Total score was 5. (The fact that she was a redhead was diluted by the groom’s wearing of sneakers at the chuppah)


During the weekend of May 25, right after Lag B’Omer, The Times published wedding announcements for an Assistant Secretary of State, Hindus, Moslems, Christians, Jews and others. In one wedding, an assistant to a Warner brothers producer wed the executive producer of Scrubs, and in another one, a Motown producer and daughter of a Hadassah biggie wed a Sony attorney. The Sunness-Bass wedding had two rabbis (+2). Bass is a Chicago MBA (+1), and he met his wife after being fixed up with her by his grandmother, who was friends with the bride’s grandmother in prewar Poland and Auschwitz (cool story +1). Total score was 4. The Salkin-Morris wedding scored a 6 since Morris had two ivy degrees, both with honors. The Biddle-Frankel wedding, both of whom are artists and met in a drawing class, used not only a rabbi, but a Storahtelling play by Amichai Lau-Lavie; while the Sunder-Tager wedding used a famous cantor (+2) and combined two Harvard cum laude grads (+5), one of which was a Fulbright fellow in Islamic Studies (+1). Total score was 8. Sadly, they were beaten out by Rosen-Kontorovich. They were married at the Sephardic synagogue in Cedarhurst. She is an honors, ivy league med student, and he is a honors ivy leaguer with multiple degrees. Plus did I mention that the groom plays clarinet for the Klez Dispensers in Princeton? Their total score was 10.

In my most recent scoring (June 15), post the Shavuot holiday, there were 40 weddings and simchas, and 11 were Jewish (27%). Among them were the Schoefeld-Wein union which scored an 11 from numerous medical related degrees and honors from Harvard and Yale (and her father’s a doctor!); and the Tobias-Altschuler nuptials, scoring an 8, from ivy degrees and a father who was the former national Chairman of the ADL and a mother who is a trustee of a Jewish museum. But my fave for the week, albeit a low scorer, was the union of two oboists, one for a Ohio orchestra, the other based in LA. I hope they make beautiful music together

SCORING SYSTEM:
Bride or Groom is a rabbi /score: 2
Parent of Bride/groom is a rabbi /score: 2
Couple married by relative who is a rabbi /score: 2
Parent of Bride/Groom is Jewish macher /score: 1
Bride/Groom is a Jewish macher /score: 1
Bride/groom is a Jewish Blogger /score: 2
Parent of Bride/Groom works for UJA /score: 1
Parent of Bride/Groom works for synagogue /score: 1
Bride or Groom is a Jewish educator /score: 2
Bride or Groom has Phd in Jewish studies /score: 2
Bride or Groom is descendant of famous Jew /score: 2
Minister/Imam participated in ceremony /score: -2
Couple met a Jewish event /score: 3
Couple met in college /score: 2
Jewish groom marries Asian bride /score: 1
Ivy league graduate /score: 2
Yeshiva graduate /score: 3
Groom over 10 yrs older than bride /score: -1
Bride/Groom previous marriage ended in divorce /score: -2
Bride/Groom previous 2 marriages ended in divorce /score: -3
Graduated Cum Laude /score: 1
Graduated Magna Cum Laude /score: 2
Graduated Summa Cum Laude /score: 3
Graduated with fellowship /score: 2
Met on Israel trip /score: 3
Intermarriage without conversion /score: -2
Married by celebrity rabbi /score: 2

Please help me by adding more scoring attributes. Thanks

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larry

8 Comments

  • Brilliant! But with HMO’s and possible health care reforms coming in the future…Doctor’s don’t make that much money anymore…now Veterinarians and Porn Kings…there’s something to schep nachas about!

  • Dear Count Raffi:
    no offense to former employees and friends at Gawker, but this was a game played on Sunday mornings in the Hamptons two decades ago. I am showing my age. sorry. Although Kohelet may have written that there is nothing new under the sun, sometimes what you attribute to being new on one blog, was not necessarily new. Does that make sense? I am venture to guess that this game was being played in 1910 at the offices of the Forverts, except they had a different point system

  • While I think your nachus index is a fantastic idea, please note that The Times society page does not always tell the complete story. The wedding of an old friend of mine was featured in the very Vows section you write of within the last few months. Curiously, the editors did not include the fact that his bride was 5 months pregnant at the time of the wedding. While that won’t likely enhance his prestige in the eyes of New York society, those of us who otherwise couldn’t care less really hand it to him for marrying after conception AND making the Vows section.

  • I am confused. Intermarriage without conversion is -2, but marriage to an Asian bride is +1? What if she does not convert? What if it is a Jewish bride married to an Asian groom?

    I forgot how much nonsense they put into these announcements….

  • How would you score “thought he was a dumbass”/ “thought she was cold and possibly a lesbian” when they first met years ago, but “fell instantly hopelessly in love when an unknowing friend set them up on a ‘blind date’ years later?”

  • Doug.. I read that Vows column. If it is the same one you mentioned, the column DID mention that she was pregnant and the picture showed her to be pregnant, and the artcile explained how they rushed the wedding when they found out she was pregnant. But maybe you mean a different Vows column. But that paper is not shy about telling stories, and probably picks and chooses the info that tells a good story

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