Sisterhood Blog

Serenading the Bobov Bride

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

  • Print
  • Share Share
Twitter
The bride and groom

Photos and video from the wedding of Avraham Yehoshua Heschel Halberstam, a son of the rebbe of the Bobov Hasidic dynasty, to Chana Sara Baila Friedman posted on this Chabad website, offer a fascinating peek into a world that is all but invisible to those who are not part of it.

Still, even the most insular of ultra-Orthodox communities are no longer totally cut off from the outside world, a point illuminated by the fact that the Hasidic wedding was live Tweeted.

And this being a Bobov affair, there are competing Twitter feeds as well. The community has been divided since the death of its previous rebbe, in 2005, over who is the rightful heir: the father of the groom, Rabbi Ben Zion Aryeh Leibish Halberstam, who is headquartered at the enormous Bobov synagogue on 48th Street in Boro Park, and the younger brother of the previous rebbe, or his sister’s husband, Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger, whose community is headquartered at a somewhat smaller shul three blocks away.

The dispute has been in an Orthodox court, or din Torah, for the past seven years, say sources in the community.

Halberstam’s son’s enormous wedding was held on February 26 on a Brooklyn pier. In attendance were reigning Hasidic leaders of the Pupa, Sanz, Klausenberg, Spinka and other dynasties, as well as Senator Chuck Schumer and other local male politicians.

The wedding was as enormous a display, and nearly as intricately staged, as the Super Bowl half time show. Boys costumed as fancy soldiers marched around a badchan in a choreographed number.

As her new father-in-law, the rebbe, danced holding one end of a long silken sash for the mitzvah tanz, and thousands of men and boys in the hall sang and swayed, the bride stood in the middle of the enormous dance floor:

Dressed in a poufy white dress with an equally poufy white headdress covering her from hairline to toe, the new Mrs. Halberstam stood stock still, looking more like a prop in someone else’s show than a bride at her own wedding. What must it have felt like to be the lone woman there, surrounded by so many men, when she has led a life without much contact with men other than those in her family? In keeping with the strict separation of the genders that has become the custom in Bobov and similar Haredi communities, the female guests celebrated the wedding in another building.

I hope that, as she establishes her relationship with her husband, she feels less like a wedding cake topper and more like an equal partner in building their new life together.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Wedding, Hasidic, Haredi, Bobov

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.