Grapevine: Wedding Belz in Jerusalem

When Sholom Rokeach celebrated his bar mitzva five years ago, Belzer Hassidim from all over the world came to rejoice with him.

Wedding 521 (photo credit: JPOST.COM STAFF)
Wedding 521
(photo credit: JPOST.COM STAFF)
If traffic was diverted and large segments of the public inconvenienced by changes in bus routes during the recent visit by US President Barack Obama, it was a mild irritation compared to what will happen on Tuesday, May 21, corresponding to the Hebrew calendar date of 12 Sivan, when Sholom Rokeach – the eldest grandson of the Belzer Rebbe, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach – marries Batya Paneth, daughter of Rabbi Yehiel Meir Paneth of Bnei Brak. The prospective bridegroom is the eventual heir to the Belzer dynasty – he is the son of Rabbi Aharon Mordechai Rokeach, the Belzer Rebbe’s only son.
As haredi engagements go, this was a relatively long one. It is rare in ultra-Orthodox circles for a couple to be engaged for more than three or four months, but in this case, the bride and groom will have been engaged for more than a year. In all probability, the wedding was delayed due to their youth. The bridegroom, who is named after the first Belzer Rebbe, celebrated his bar mitzva in February 2008. A true hassidic blue-blood, he is also the great grandson of the Vishnitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Yehoshua Moshe Hager, who presided over Agudat Yisrael’s Council of Torah Sages and died in March 2012. It is possible that a second reason for delay was the need to wait until the groom’s grandmother, Rebbetzin Sarah Hager, had completed the mourning period for her father.
When Sholom Rokeach celebrated his bar mitzva five years ago, Belzer Hassidim from all over the world came to rejoice with him.
Even more are expected to attend the wedding, which has been deliberately timed for the week after Shavuot. This way, those from abroad can plan to celebrate the festival in Israel as well as the wedding, and will obviously stay to participate in the sheva brachot.
The wedding ceremony will take place in the magnificent Belz Synagogue, which some Jerusalemites have dubbed the “Third Temple.” The wedding banquet will be held at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, where women will have video access to the men’s section. The bride will join the women soon after the ceremony.
It takes somewhere between 15 and 25 minutes to walk from Kiryat Belz to the convention center. The sea of black will undoubtedly get in the way of traffic as thousands of people, not just Belzer Hassidim but also members of other sects, make their way from the ceremony to the banquet hall. The procession will in all likelihood hold up or divert traffic in the area of the central bus station.
■ FORMER LONGTIME director-general of the Hadassah Medical Organization and current director-general of the National Insurance Institute, Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, was invited to address the residents of Ahuzat Beit Hakerem. He expected a lot of questions, but what he did not anticipate was meeting up with his first-grade teacher, Rachel Rachmilevich, who is one of the residents of the retirement complex for senior citizens. The two, whose initial meeting well over a half-century ago was at the capital’s Luria School, had a nostalgic reunion.
■ A DELEGATION of key business and government leaders from New York City – who came to Israel as part of an initiative of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, to help strengthen ties between Israeli entrepreneurs and NYC businessmen and investors – was hosted by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP). The delegation expressed interest in gaining insights from the success stories of JVP and the “start-up nation,” which they could take home and utilize.
JVP’s reputation is already well-known in the Big Apple. “JVP is hallowed ground, their reputation is the industry’s gold standard,” said delegation member Brian Cohen, chairman of New York Angels, a consortium of angel investors. “What defines their success is not easy to define. It’s an innate ability to see, feel and hear more about a young company than anybody else.”
The group’s tour followed a visit to JVP last year by NYC Council speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, as well as follow-up meetings in New York between JVP leaders and Quinn.
“New York City is a rising star in the world of start-ups and hi-tech, as is Jerusalem, with JVP at the heart of the city’s innovative spirit,” said JVP general partner Kobi Rozengarten. “By deepening our ties with the New York business and technology community and helping the start-up ecosystem in New York, we help create ties that benefit entrepreneurship in both countries. We expect those ties to only deepen in the future.”