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As the divorce rate rises, it’s no wonder that many of us admire — perhaps even find ourselves in awe of — couples who have been together for decades. And it seems as if many of those couples — recognizing their unique status themselves — are celebrating their longevity by renewing their vows with grand, even hilarious, public ceremonies.

Take 87-year-old Hollywood star Kirk Douglas, who, after 50 years, re-affirmed his wedding vows with wife Anne in a ceremony in May. They renewed the promises they had first made in 1954 — when they eloped to Las Vegas — in a Beverly Hills mansion. The star of “Spartacus” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” walked to the rose-adorned chuppah to the strains of “I’m in the Mood for Love.”

Locally, many Jewish couples are following in the Douglases’ footsteps.

When Max Cooperstein of Albany repeated his vows to his wife of 50 years, Bonnie, in February at Congregation Beth El, he had a little surprise in store for her.

“When we got married 50 years ago, I gave my husband a note,” says Bonnie, who married Max in Philadelphia when she was 21 and he was 24. That note, which she’d written on a small flowered card, confessed her love and happiness.

“Well, I’d saved that note,” says Max. “But she didn’t know that I’d saved it. I have a drawer in my nightstand that she’s probably afraid to go through. It’s so messy. It was in there with a lot of junk. … When I ran across it, I thought it would be a great surprise. The rabbi never knew. And Bonnie never knew.”

So, before restating his vows at the synagogue that Friday night, Max put his hand in his pocket and drew the note out.

“He never keeps anything!” Bonnie says. “He came out with that note. It was quite a shock for everyone.”

Moreover, Max also had a brand-new note card, dated exactly 50 years later — Feb. 20, 2004 — on which he wrote his wife’s exact words in his own handwriting. He gave her that card, too.

“It was really lovely,” Bonnie says. “I had the feeling that I was bride again.”

Another Bay Area couple was touched when their own son — Rabbi Evan Goodman of Congregation Beth-Israel-Judea — presided over their renewal of vows after 40 years of marriage. On July 27, 2003, Elayne and Aaron Goodman flew their family to Maui, a place they’d often taken their children on vacation, for a sunset ceremony on the beach.

“I was tickled to officiate my parent’s own ceremony,” says the rabbi. “It was emotional for all of us.”

Elayne says it was an “unfathomable joy” to have her son preside over the ceremony. “It was incredibly moving, just looking at our son’s face as he was speaking to us.

“And then to see our grandchildren looking at Evan — it’s as if they finally understood the continuity thing,” she adds.

Continuity in their family was made more evident by the fact that they stood under a chuppah made from Aaron’s father’s tallit. The chuppah was draped over broomsticks found in each of the rooms where the family members were staying.

When the Goodmans had first married in New York, “it was a big affair that was beyond what they could absorb at the time,” son Evan says. “So, this was almost like the wedding ceremony that they never had.”

Elayne adds: “When we were married 40 years ago, we sort of walked through the evening and didn’t have a lot of awareness. We were young and it was a very theatrical experience. … This time, we were both there and present.”

Same with Stephanie and Bill Scott, who renewed their vows after 25 years at Congregation Emanu-El.

Stephanie recalls that their marriage was presided by “a probate commissioner in the living room of our house where we still live in San Francisco. … We’d written all our own vows with the birds chirping and everything else you do in the ’70s.”

But the second time around — on Dec. 10, 2000 — about 100 people came to witness a formal renewal of vows. “Rabbi Peretz [Wolf-Prusan] knew us so well,” says Stephanie. “He’d bar and bat mitvah-ed both of our children, and he’d buried my father.”

Moreover, shortly after the ceremony, Bill decided to formally convert to Judaism.

One husband went about renewing his vows with his wife last summer by playing a practical joke on her.

Stephen Becker — who describes himself as “a little bit of a jokester” — wanted to do something really special for his wife, Beverly, whom he married in 1977 at U.C. Berkeley’s Alumni House. Not only had the two of them reached the 25-year mark, but she had successfully battled cancer that year.

Although the couple agreed that a party would be a great idea, they didn’t see eye to eye about the actual particulars. First, they thought of having a charity theme, in which people donated money to the Seva Foundation, a humanitarian organization that works worldwide with communities in need.

But Beverly didn’t like the idea of asking people to give money to a particular charity.

Then Stephen said they should renew their vows.

Again his idea was nixed. “I said, ‘No way!’ I really didn’t do want to do that. It’s way too corny. It’s not my kind of thing,” says Beverly.

But Stephen was determined. Mulling over the Seva idea, he recalled that Wavy Gravy, aka Hugh Romney, sits on its board of directors. And Beverly has always been fond of the Berkeley entertainer/ activist/camp director and inspiration for a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor.

“As goofy as he is, he does a tremendous amount of humanitarian work,” Beverly says. “And he’s a generous and wonderful person.”

So Stephen called Wavy Gravy. Without telling Beverly, even though she had forced him to promise that there would be “no surprises.”

An unknowing Beverly went along with what she thought was the plan: 100 friends and family members getting together at Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory in Berkeley on Aug. 30, 2003, for a party. (John Scharffenberger had been one of the original chuppah holders when the Beckers got married.)

Meanwhile, Wavy Gravy — who had been dealing with severe back troubles for years — was in real pain that day. His pain was so bad, in fact, that he couldn’t walk out on stage.

On the night of the party over dinner, Beverly stood up to start a trivia game, asking questions to various family members and friends.

“Then Steve got up and took the microphone away from me,” Beverly says. “He told the story that when we got married we had a hard time finding a rabbi.”

Steve interjects, “We were not officially a member of a synagogue. So, we ended up with a cantor from Lafayette.’ I made a joke, ‘We couldn’t afford a rabbi.’ So, I said, ‘This time I’ve gotten a rabbi.'”

Then he announced, “We’ve got the best rabbi that Berkeley has to offer!'”

Quietly Beverly wondered, who could it be?

All of a sudden, Wavy Gravy appeared — wheeled out on a hospital gurney.

“He looked like the reclining Buddha in tie dye,” Beverly says, laughing.

For Steve, he looked more like “Cleopatra on a gurney.”

He adds, “We threw a kippah on him, and he did the whole thing lying down. … He read a poem from Pablo Neruda and everyone was in tears. … Bev loved it!”