Grapevine, October 23, 2020: Wedding Ward

The movers and shakers of Isareli society

A wedding huppa (illustrative)  (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A wedding huppa (illustrative)
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
 A 56-year-old critically ill COVID-19 patient who has been hospitalized since September at Hadassah Medical Center Ein Karem was able to watch his son’s wedding on Sunday when plans for the ceremony were changed to partially enable his participation.
With the cooperation of Hadassah staff and the Yad Abraham organization, the 20 year-old groom, a Gur Hassid, was able to sanctify his union outside the window of his father’s ward.
The hospital said that the wedding could take place with a limited number of guests who were immediate family. Hospital staff went to great lengths to position the bridal canopy near the father’s bed. There were blessings and there was music, and the father could hear it and see it all. Hopefully, those moments of joy will aid his recovery.
Hadassah CEO Prof. Zeev Rothstein was pleased that the hospital could contribute to the spiritual well-being of its patients. Hospital staff watched the wedding from their office windows and applauded as soon as the young couple officially became man and wife.
■ CONFLICTING STORIES about the police invasion of the Givat Ze'ev home of Rabbi Uri Pollack and his wife Bat-El during the wedding of one of their 13 children have prompted an uproar in the haredi community. Members of the Pollack family claim that the police used undue force against three members of the family resulting in one arrest, a hospitalization, a guest being dragged disrespectfully by police, and the youngest Pollack daughter being reduced to tears. 
Given the brief period in which the person commissioned to videotape the wedding released scenes of the violence on social media and the speed with which members of the family were contacted by the media, it is doubtful that they had time in which to coordinate their version of the story, which was more or less the same regardless of which family member was telling it. The police claimed that when they entered the backyard of the residence, they saw scores of peopl, and two policewomen wanted to document the evidence with their cellphone cameras. Bat-El Pollack instinctively put out a hand to block their ability to do so; a spontaneous gesture by someone who doesn’t want to be photographed.
The Pollack family claims to have abided by Health Ministry regulations. The wedding reception had originally been scheduled for a banquet hall in Talpiot, and was canceled due to coronavirus restrictions. The bride’s father then decided that closest relatives and friends would be invited on a roster system, meaning that a certain number would come for a brief period to offer congratulations to the bride and groom, and after a few minutes would be replaced by another small group. According to the father of the bride, friends of the groom had watched the bridal ceremony from across the road.
When Bat-El Pollack prevented the policewomen from photographing, they called for reinforcements, and a relatively large number of border police showed up.
The police wanted to take Bat El Pollack away, but she resisted. Two of her children who saw what was happening, and fearful that their mother would fall over backwards, ran to her assistance, and were pushed away by police.
One of the policemen allegedly grabbed Itzhak Pollack, one of the bride’s brothers, in a choke hold and marched him into the kitchen where he allegedly punched him several times in the face and broke a bottle over his head. Yitzhak was subsequently seen in video footage, handcuffed with his face bleeding and blood stains on his white shirt. He spent the night in prison in the Russian Compound and was released the following day.
Even if the family did violate the regulation, the police could have used other means to get rid of surplus guests, or to bring the wedding festivities to a speedy conclusion.
It appears that some of the Pollacks’ neighbors saw guests entering the premises and notified the police. However, after the situation went viral, all kinds of people came to the house to demonstrate solidarity with the Pollack family. Some were complete strangers. After arresting Yitzhak, the police left, but more uninvited guests kept turning up as a gesture of solidarity with the bride and groom. Haredi politicians were outraged by the incident.
The Pollack family is being represented by lawyer Itamar Ben Gvir, who unsuccessfully ran for Knesset. Ben Gvir seems to be the most favored lawyer when members of the haredi community engage in complaints against police violence.
■ DAVID’S VILLAGE resident Bonnie Cohen was diagnosed with COVID-19. The medication she took was hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc, which she says did wonders for her and for other people she knows, who took it early and didn’t wait for their infection to become too serious. Cohen says she feels great, and is sleeping better than she has done for years. So many people who took the same medication and contacted her after recovering from COVID-19, say they feel great just as she does. Cohen is not suggesting that others who treat positive argue with their physicians. The medication may not work for everyone, but it did work for her and many others.