Tietz-Cozen Wedding (and Kidnapping)


Tietz_icon.jpg Sarah-Leah_icon.jpg Marlowe_icon.jpg Steven_icon.jpg


* Rabbi Menachem Herschbaum

* Aharon Tietz's parents

* Sarah Leah Cozen's parents

* Assorted family and friends of the bride and groom from out of town

* Masked Bandit

Summary: Two young Jews are wed; the bride is subsequently kidnapped, then saved.

Date: March 1, 1883

Log Name: Tietz-Cozen Wedding

There are many Hebrew and Yiddish words or phrases, as well as complex Jewish concepts. I have made each subsection title a link to a description of that part of a Jewish wedding as well as the meanings behind the various steps. In addition, I have translated foreign words in the simplest manner possible. Wherever short phrases were insufficient, I have made footnotes to websites that will explain the concepts.

Boarding House - Back Yard

The Procession

The big day has finally arrived. The backyard of the boarding house has been transformed into a holy place, where a wedding will occur. Although it will soon be dusk and the temperature is not very kind in Colorado in the beginning of March, the small gathering appears bright and cheerful. The poles of the chupah [wedding canopy] have been firmly implanted into the ground, the covering having ornate embroidery lettering in silver and gold declaring the famous line from the Song of Songs written by King Solomon - ani l'dodi v'dodi li. "I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me." It is written in Hebrew and English in a circle.

Rabbi Menachem Herschbaum of Detroit stands beneath the chupah toward the back of it to allow room for the bride and groom when they arrive. He holds a small prayerbook in his hands and a proud smile on his face, as though it were his own child's wedding. It is time for the groom's procession to begin.

The elder Mister and Missus Tietz, she looking rather pale and strained, lead their son from the kitchen towards the chupah, their lighted candles flickering in the slight, chill breeze. Each has an arm of the groom firmly locked in one of their own.

Tietz doesn't dawdle, but maintains a stately pace, but squeezes his parent's arms with his own, reasurringly.

As the groom and his parents move down the aisle, several men off to the side begin playing their instruments. First, the slow sound of the clarinet can be heard, followed quickly by a violin. It is recognizable as Aishes Chayil - A Woman of Valor - which is sung every Friday night at the Shabbos [Sabbath] table in honor of the day and the women who are the hearth of the home and Jewish life as a whole. Once they have arrived at the chupah, an elderly man begins singing Baruch Haba and Mi Adir in a clear, strong tenor. This is a brief Hebrew greeting which also includes a request for G-d's blessings for the new couple.

As soon as the lovely song has ended, the band grows a bit louder and Sarah Leah begins to walk down the aisle. As with the groom, the bride is escorted by her parents, who each hold a candle. She is beaming from ear to ear under her elaborate veil, her laceless slippers making hardly a sound on the soft grass. Her dress has been exquisitely made, layers of silk and lace covering her form in the most flattering possible manner.

The elders withdraw their arms, Mother Tietz a little reluctantly, and allow their son to enter alone, whilst they join the remainder of the guests.

Aharon stops several paces in front of the Rabbi, gives him a small, tight smile, and half turns to observe Sarah Leah come into the chupah. His heart skips a bit, and he turns a bit white, but lowers his chin in a slight nod.

The band finishes the song just as Sarah Leah arrives at the chupah, the groom's symbolic home to which she has been invited. Her parents let go of her as well, her father already tearing up as he moves off to the side with Missus Cozen. The bride circles her groom counterclockwise seven times to break down any remaining walls or barriers between them, just as Joshua and the Israelites circled Jericho seven times to bring down its walls. While she is making her circuits, the cantor sings Mi Ban Siach, a hymn which extols the bride's modesty and fidelity, and again appeals to G-d to bless the bride and groom. The entire time, her bright brown eyes are upon Aharon as though there are no others present.

The shochet [kosher butcher] swallows, hard, his throat closing suddenly with emotion and fear. Keeping his eyes on his betrothed's, he wriggles his toes, swaying a bit as the movement travels up his legs.

The Betrothal

Rabbi Herschbaum smiles as the bride settles into place beside her groom. He then calls out the names of the two witnesses. One is a friend of the Cozen family and one a friend of the Tietz family, unrelated to one another. They rise from their seats and walk up to join the couple under the chupah, ensuring they are not in the way of any who wish to view the ceremony. Sarah Leah's brother walks up to the rabbi to hand him a kiddush cup filled to the brim with wine, then sits back down. Seeming more confident than both of the marrying parties combined, the rabbi intones the blessing over wine, then the kiddushin blessing. He then holds the cup out for the groom and bride to each take a sip.

His fingers suddenly clumsy, perhaps from the wine, Aharon takes the ring from the Rabbi, bobbling it for a moment before gaining control of both the ring and his hands. Looking at the ornament for the briefest of moments, he holds it out to Sarah Leah, and says, his voice clear and strong, "With this ring, you are consecrated to me according to the law of Moses and Israel."

The Ketubah (Marriage Contract)

Sarah Leah leans forward and sips from the kiddush cup. She then lifts her trembling hand to accept the simple wedding band on her right index finger. Simultaneously, her eyes lift to watch her nervous groom. The bride is gently biting her lower lip as she smiles, her breathing forcibly slow and deep. When Aharon says those binding words in English, she stiffens as though snapping to attention. However, it is not until he declares them in Hebrew that she begins blinking back tears. Her mother is already a sniffling, bawling mess, of course.

Aharon's old chavrusa [learning partner] from yeshiva [seminary or Jewish school] steps forward to read the ketubah [marriage contract]. He is a great Torah scholar, able to read the Aramaic fluently, the words flowing as he describes the many obligations a man has to his wife, which has already been signed by all necessary parties. He then hands it to his old friend, offering a reassuring smile.

Aharon takes the ketubah from his old friend, offering a smile in return, murmurs a soft word of thanks and turns to his new wife. Laying it across both hands, he lifts the document to her, raising one eyebrow and ignoring the wailing of his Mother in the rear.

Sarah Leah gingerly takes the contract, then hands it off to her sister-in-law, who will put it somehwere safe for the remainder of the wedding. The wailing is not only ignored by the woman, but it is hardly even heard. The large document will be framed and hung in their new home in a place easily accessible to the bride so that she may, at any point during their marriage, bring it out to remind her husband of his obligations. Just in case he forgets.

The brother of the groom again is the bearer of a fresh cup of wine. He has the honor of reciting the blessing over the wine as well as the second of the Sheva Brachos. Systematically, a different man is called up to recite each of the blessings, culminating with Mister Tietz saying the brachah ach'rita, the most prestigious honor. The glass is then held out again for the bride and groom to sip from it.

The wine blessed, the seven blessings recited and the wine glass, wrapped in a large napkin is placed under Aharon's foot. He hesitates, looking long at Sarah Leah, then deliberately crushes the fragile crystal underfoot.

One eyebrow gently lifts at the groom's hesitation, Sarah Leah looking more amused than anything. After all, they were technically married halfway through the ceremony and their souls have already joined to become one. She briefly closes her eyes, taking the moment to properly reflect on the meaning of the breaking glass - to never forget, even in her happiest moment, that Jerusalem was destroyed and that she longs for the coming of Moshiach [Jewish concept of Messiah].

As the glass shatters and the cries of "Mazel Tov" [good luck and congratulations] fill the air, the parents of the couple move toward the pair to begin escorting them to the yichud [seclusion] room. The chosen room is an empty one in the boarding house, where some food awaits them so that they may break their fast and all jewelry which had previously been removed by either party is laid out so that it may again be donned.

Boarding House - Bedroom 5

Yichud Room

The witnesses precede the couple to the yichud room, peering inside, one going through the house to lock the door to the Parlor, another waiting by the back door, key in hand. A silver spoon is laid on the threshold, and the way is cleared for the married pair.

Once the witnesses have ascertained that there are no people other than the bride and groom in the room, they wait for Aharon to lock the door from the inside before joining the parents downstairs. Meanwhile, the rest of the guests are ushered toward the schoolhouse, which has been set up for the reception.

Although Sarah Leah's stomach growls as she spies the food awaiting them, the young bride's attention is focused on her groom. Dark eyes turned up to his, she intones, "May you merit to have a long life, and to unite with me in love from now until eternity. May I merit to dwell with you forever." There is a pause before she grins up at him through her veil and softly adds, "Ani l'dodi v'dodi li. I love you, Aharon Shlomo Tietz."

Aharon turns the key in the lock, ensuring it makes a satisfying 'click' and turns to his wife. "Ani l'dodi v'dodi li, Missus Tietz." He reaches up to unpin the veil. "Your face is too beautiful to cover any longer. And your eyes have never seemed so bright."

Cheeks pink with excitement, Sarah Leah's controlled breathing is beginning to fail, growing shaky as she watches her new husband. She fidgets with her wedding band, twisting it around her right index finger. There are no words coming from her right now as she seems to be in a state of waiting. She does move over toward the small table to grab a few pieces of fruit. After reciting the blessing, she eats them, then seems to be waiting again. While all know what the yichud room is for, now that they are in it, she is having trouble bringing herself to be the first to touch the other. Meanwhile, they have only a few precious minutes left before they will be whisked away to join their guests at the reception.

The shochet reaches into his pocket and brings out a small, velvet box, opening it and presenting Sarah Leah with it. Inside, the light refracts from a large diamond solitaire, set in a simple gold band. "It is a small trinket, my Love, and dims when faced with your eyes.

Delighted, if not exactly surprised, Sarah Leah squeaks out, "Thank you, dodi." She hesitates, then reaches out with her left hand to take his. The young woman gasps softly and jolts as though struck by a bolt of lightning. It is then that there is knocking at the door by the parents and witnesses. "Let's go! We're hungry!"

Aharon's reaction was a flushing of his cheeks, then, saved by the pounding on the door, he retrieves the key from his pocket and opens the barrier. "After you, Missus Tietz?"


The Reception

The couple separates inside of the schoolhouse, Aharon dragged off to the men's side, where noises of laughing and eating soon make a muted roar as an accordion tunes up noisily.

The schoolhouse has been set up with a large movable wall separating the right side from the left, men from women. Children not yet bar or bas mitzvah age [age of adulthood and taking on all commandments of the Torah ] enjoy the privilege of moving back and forth between the sides, although the younger ones tend to stay with their mothers. The guests have been snacking on appetizers and greet the newly arrived and photographed couple with music, singing and dancing.

Sarah Leah is whisked away from her groom for the first dance, happily moving in the center of the large circle of women revolving around her. Although the band is small, they do an excellent job keeping the tempo upbeat and playing klezmer1 music.

Just as the party gets really started, a rather uninvited guest steps out from behind the edge of the curtain. Dressed in party clothes, so to speak, and with the telltale mask around the face, the persona moves into the women's group. Without a word, the figure scoops up the bride and heads out the door.

The appearance of a man in the women's section is enough to elicit a few cries of, "You're on the wrong side! What are you doing here?" As the bandit has to physically break through the circle of women to get to the bride, there are shouts and screams heard over the mechitza2. Children dash off to their fathers and the groom to tell them what is going on.

Sarah Leah lets out a cry herself as she is manhandled, pushing and fighting as best she can. She is stronger than one may think, but certainly no match for the Masked Bandit. "AHARON!" There is terror in her voice as her cries continue, "Put me down! Let me go! HELP!"

Still not saying a word, the Masked Bandit makes his way toward the schoolhouse door. As he reaches it, he turns and pulls a gun. "Anyone make a move and I'll shoot ya'll. Every last one of ya's..now stay put…", he says as he backs out of the school and then seems to disappear.

The 'breed [Marlowe] hobbles inside the schoolhouse behind the Sheriff, moving clumsily on his heavy crutches, off balance.

The schoolhouse has been divided by a row of movable walls to separate the women from the men, except for a dais at the far end in the center. There is a lot of food, mostly unserved and uneaten. The guests are shocked and bewildered. Children are crying, women and men move around the separation to find their spouses, ensuring they are safe. The mother of the bride has fainted, her daughter-in-law fanning the older woman and splashing water on her face to wake her up. Mister Cozen is filled with rage, his eyes murderous and a steak knife in his hand as he is near the door, seemingly about to step out. When the others step in, he begins to yell even before the groom can. "Where were you five minutes ago! That evil bandit abducted my precious Sarah Leah on her wedding day! Find him! Kill him!"

As the Bandit, with Sarah Leah over his shoulder, passes Marlowe, a swift punch in the gut is delivered. "Try to catch me now, you no good injun…", he mutters. "Useless…." Then, with his reluctant baggage thrown over his shoulder, the Masked Bandit continues down the alleyway. He grumbles something about screaming women and tries to put a hand over the screeching woman's mouth.

"I told you not to move here…but if you'd asked MY advice, which of course you didn't…" Mother Tietz's complaints can be heard even now.

Steven runs up, and in his haste to get inside nearly passes the bandit. He slides to a stop, his hand falling to his gun belt, just in time to see the man sucker punch Marlowe. He ignores the bellows coming from the wedding party, and runs off to give chase of the masked man and the kicking load he carries.

When a hand is put near her mouth in an attempt to cover it, Sarah Leah bites the nearest finger hard before opening her mouth to scream again. "HELP!" The normally soft-spoken woman is yelling at the top of her lungs, proving she can create real volume when necessary.

The Masked Bandit growls and attempts to smack Sarah Leah hard enough to shut her the hell up. "Damn heavy fat woman.. shut up…", he says as he heads off at as much of a run as he can manage toward the edge of the forest. Two more masked figures seem to melt out of the dark edge of the trees, guns ready and pointing toward anyone following.

Steven can hopefully make better time than the man he's chasing. Giving chase he tries to keep close enough to them to keep the others from getting a clean shot. Sprinting now, slipping in the wet snow he gains on them.

The smack quiets Sarah Leah only briefly and will certainly cause some swelling of the cheek. Once they are in the woods, she still screams, but the sound is more muffled than when they were in the open air.

Passing one of the other masked figures, The Masked Bandit grabs a gag that is held out by the other person. Trying to stuff it quickly in the screaming woman's mouth while not loosing his stride, he heads deeper into the forest.

The others try to block the way of the following one. "Now don't you go gettin' any ideas, mister. Just let them be.. he ain' gonna harm her none."

Steven looks up as one of the others tries to block his path, His hand flies to his pistol jerking it out in stride, and smacking the barrel across the mask of the bandit in his way. He tries to push past to keep up with the pair before he loses them in the forest.

The gag causes Sarah Leah to stop screaming, certainly. Unfortunately, as she is trying hard to suck in air and her heart is racing, the stout woman begins choking on the cloth until she passes out. Suddenly, she is dead weight and lightly unconscious.

The fathers of the bride and groom, following the groom himself, were running after the Masked Bandit, each with steak knives in their hands. Of course, they were far behind Steven and by the time the others disappeared into the woods, the wedding party had no leads. Aharon shakes with rage, completely inconsolable at the moment and shouting. To G-d, to his family, to anyone.

"Freaking great…" the Bandit mumbles. He shifts her weight a bit on his back. He heads toward a hedge and tries to slip through without dropping the bride, heading toward the butte.

His compatriots confront the 'hero'. But with the smack of one of them, they're down to half strength. The other faces the on coming mob for a moment, still trying to stand his ground.

Steven jumps over the fallen bandit, sliding for a moment before he breaks into a run a again. He breath comes in clouds of steam, as he follows the track in the snow. Dodging tree branches he races to catch up.

The Bandit was already heading up the butte, Sarah Leah over his shoulder. Up the butte and then around the corner…. and poof… he appears to be… gone.

Steven slows to a stop, and kneels down at the site of the last track. Its turned from a chase to a tracking now. He scans the ground, knowing a man carrying a load will make deep imprints. He pauses listening for signs of the man walking before moving again.

No sounds are heard that are not natural to the surroundings. No heavy breathing, no cursing, no tromping. Just the winter silence of the Rocky Mountains.

Steven moves forward carefully, looking for imprints, moved rocks, broken branches. He checks his pistol, and move forward looking for a hiding place.

Finally, the bandit drops his bundle. "Now, stay put, sugar. There are blankets and food up here for ya. They'll find you a'fore it snow again. Just hang tight. And by the way, how's that new dress workin' out for ya?', The Bandit asks, chuckling a bit. "And say hello to the injun and nigger for me. They're next…" Then he's gone again, supposedly.

Sarah Leah comes to once she is unceremoniously dropped on the ground. Still trying to gather her wits, she barely catches the end of what is said, blinking in the dark.

Steven moves along slowly now in the fading light. He tracks through the snow by the stream moving quietly, from each sign to the next.

The light is nearly gone and Sarah Leah should be spending her time locating the supplies she was told were available. Yet she does not. Instead, the young bride sits back on her heels, buries her face in her hands and begins to cry, to sob, and after a few minutes, to wail.

Steven pauses listening. Over the sound of the stream he hears the sounds of crying. He creeps up the bank suddenly clearing a stand of trees as the sounds gets stronger. He slowly pulls back the hammer on his pistol and creeps forward.

The forlorn bride is unable to hear anything at the moment over her own mournful sounds. The beautiful lace-lined silk gloves become rather wet. Her elaborate dress is stained with dirt, some of the lace around the white silk torn from the ordeal.

Steven pushes through the branches, and almost trips over the woman as she lays there crying. He curses softly and sits down next to the woman, his pistol training on the clearing around him.

Sarah Leah removes her hands to reach inside the right sleeve of her dress and pull out a dainty handkerchief. As she does, the woman screams again, nearly jumping out of her skin. Not yet seeing the badge, she wipes her nose and sniffles. "Please… please do not harm me. Return me to my husband. Please."

Steven reaches over with his free hand, and takes her arm for a moment. He leans closer still watching for the bandits return, "Ma'am… You remember me…. Name Deschain.. Met at the Boardin' House."

Flinching at the touch, Sarah Leah blows her nose, then crumples the silk in her hand. "We did?" Mind reeling, the stout young woman pushes up to her feet and does her best to brush off the obviously expensive dress. "Yes, you… seem familiar. I am sorry, I… my thoughts are elsewhere." She is still shaking, although she has more confident control of her voice.

Steven nods, whispering, "I'm a ranger Ma'am.. out of Texas… Now I need you to be real still and quiet for a few minutes.. He might be back."

Nodding, Sarah Leah brings herself to stillness. In fact, she closes her eyes and murmurs something under her breath for a long, long time.

After what seems like a long time he leans over to her, "Ma'am.. You figure you can walk out of here if we go slow?"

"You… you know the way back?" Sarah Leah whispers back excitedly. "I can run there, if need be." Considering her stout form, that is highly doubtful, but her enthusiasm is certainly strong. Or perhaps it is desperation.

Steven shakes his head, keeping his voice low, "No Ma'am.. We'll run off a cliff or worse. I need you surefooted, and quiet. I need to be able to here 'im if he comes up on us.. Can you do that?"

Although disappointment clearly registers on her face, Sarah Leah nods and readies herself to follow Steven.

Steven nods once, "Well then you won't have to spend your weddin' night on the side of a mountain then." He feels around, and lucks up on a blanket. He hands it to her, "Now.. Keep yer hand in mine.. if you hear or see somethin'.. Don't cry out.. Jerk on my hand." He nods once, and stand up slowly, keeping his pistol in front of him.

Sarah Leah takes the blanket and softly says, "Thank you." After hearing the instructions, she looks at the lawman's hand and hesitates. "L'nefesh ["for the sake of survival/life"]," she murmurs as she sets one gloved hand into his. "I am ready, Mister Deschain."

Steven nods, and starts the slow walk back along the stream, before turning back into the grove of trees. He stops only a few times to listen for sounds of kidnappers.

Listening as intently as she can, Sarah Leah tries to move quietly. She is certainly no hunter, as evident by the number of twigs she breaks. "Sorry," she whispers each time.

The going is slow, but eventually they make it down, to where the trees begin to thin out. Where they can finally see the lights of the town.

Once the town is visible, Sarah Leah lets go of Steven's hand. The lights of the town cannot hold a candle to the brightness of her eyes as relief and hope spring anew. It is all she can do to keep from sprinting back. However, she does manage to continue the careful walk, just in case.

Steven looks back over his shoulder, watching the tree line. He nods to her holstering the gun as they reach the street, "Go on and run Ma'am. Don't waste any more of yer weddin' night on me."

Beaming, Sarah Leah looks to her rescuer. "Thank you, Mister Deschain. If there is anything you ever need, please let us know. Thank you." She lifts the hem of her dress just a bit, not showing -too- much ankle, and starts to run. As out of shape as she is, the woman is huffing and puffing at the halfway point and slows to a brisk walk.

Steven touches the brim of his hat as she hurries off. He reaches up to rub the back of his neck, moving toward the Sheriff's office.


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