I look at the clock. It’s 3:30 p.m.

It’s almost 20 years since the day that my eldest daughter, Gila, got engaged. And now it’s the turn of her daughter, our eldest grandchild, Shira.

We were so green when Gila got engaged. We hadn’t a clue what to expect or what was expected of us. We made aliyah from the UK and this was our first real entry into the world of Israeli chareidi minhagim. Our kids had to lead and teach us.

We had checked the boy out, he sounded fine, and his family was American, which made the language situation easier. He was their eldest of 12 (gulp). We were just a “small” family of seven.

They had been out on four dates. Four dates, for heaven’s sake! This was considered enough to make the most important decision of their lives.

We “chose” him but we hadn’t met him. We’d never even set eyes on him. This wasn’t like the way it was in our day. At least the boy came to pick up the girl, and the parents got a look at him, maybe even exchanged a word or two.

I look again at the clock — it hasn’t moved much, only 4 p.m.

After four whole dates they were sure. But I was nervous. “Will we at least get to see our future son-in-law before the vort?” we’d asked Gila.

“Do you have to?”

“Of course.”

“Well, okay. We’ll come into the house, just the two of us, and ask his parents to wait outside in their car until we call them.”

“Have his parents met you?”

“No, they trust him.”

I ignored the dig.

“What do we have to do? When we’ve met him and then met his parents, do we have a vort? What should I buy?”

“Just buy some rugelach, cakes, and cold drinks. That’s all you need for a vort.”

“My friends will come late,” Gila had added. “Girls always have to wash their hair before they go to a vort.” The voice of experience, although she was one of the first in her grade to get engaged. She was 19 when she got engaged — the same age as Shira.

I look at the clock again. It’s 4:15 p.m. Shira and her chassan are having their “closing” date at five and then going to the rav for a brachah. Just a few days ago Gila confided, “Mom, I don’t know how you did it seven times. It’s so nerve-racking.” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 541)