Good morning Linda, my 50-years-plus-one-day lifetime blessing! I believe I might be surprising you one of the first times ever.

You and I, Linda, well remember 1964, especially Aug. 30, our wedding day, in Temple Israel in your hometown of Binghamton, New York.

It was the year the Beatles performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” the year G.I. Joe first appeared as a favorite children’s toy.

In 1964, Linda, you and I enjoyed the magnificent New York World’s Fair just a few weeks before our wedding, and our visits with members of your family in Manhattan.

Linda, you and I recall the building momentum in our nation toward the passage of the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin in employment.

Just a few weeks before this act was passed, we recollect the profound sadness that rocked our lives when three Freedom Summer volunteers perished in Mississippi in their commitment to racial equality.

We watched as Sen. Barry Goldwater declared in his acceptance speech at the National Republican Convention, “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!”

Just before our wedding, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution leading to the formal declaration of war against North Vietnam.

So many historic events occurred in the year of our marriage. But even more than focusing on these and so many other very important historical 1964 happenings, my darling Linda, I simply wanted to tell Baton Rouge how grateful I am that you accepted my proposal when we had barely reached our 20th birthdays.

How young and how broke we were, for without the blessings of support from your parents and mine of blessed memory, we never could have survived our first year of marriage with me in graduate study of Spanish at the University of Buffalo and you completing your senior year.

Your devotion to me enabled us to move to Cincinnati, where my five-year pursuit of ordination as a Reform rabbi began at the Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, with our most exciting year of study in Jerusalem from 1968-1969 in Israel’s Year of Euphoria immediately following the Six Day War of June, 1967.

Then began our 12 Omaha years where I served as assistant/associate rabbi in Temple Israel, where we survived more than a few blizzards and the tornado of May 6, 1975, that took our synagogue, with me and our students in the basement, while you were at home pregnant with our second daughter.

Then, our arrival in Baton Rouge for me to begin my service to Congregation B’nai Israel as rabbi. Little did we know the majority of our the fifty years of our marriage would be here.

We can give heartfelt thanks to our Baton Rouge for the love and friendship bestowed upon you and me and our Amy and Laine from this city.

And now with my continuing service to the synagogues of Lake Charles and Lafayette, we have been so richly blessed with even more loving friends from south and southwest Louisiana.

The longer I have lived, the more I have become convinced, my darling Linda, that G-d surely arranged for us to come here to this loving, embracing city.

So Linda, let our wonderful city know that Barry and Linda celebrate this day, the first day of the rest of our lives together, and let our love help one and all know that surely G-d is good, and how blessed we are to have one another and for all in our city to grow ever deeper in love and respect for one another.

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