Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Tishrei 5766 - October 15, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











The Recent Wedding on Allenby Bridge

by M. Chevroni

Twelve Jews. Twelve followed by no zeros. That's the total Jewish population in the Muslim country they call home, a country that has very little love for the State of Israel. The kehilloh is dying. The entire young generation consists of one young man and one young woman who decided to get married. But how? The kehilloh has no rov, no gabbai, not even a minyan. How does a couple that wants to get married kedas Moshe veYisroel go about it?

It takes mesirus nefesh, a lot of effort and a bit of risk. And that is just what this couple did. To protect their safety we have left out the names and place of residence of this special couple who epitomize the verse "levilti nidach mimenu nidach" (Shmuel II 14:14).

A Dying Kehilloh

Contact was forged when the couple asked a third party living outside of Israel to help them get married. He then contacted Israel Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger.

The kallah takes care of the local beis knesses. Every day she cleans, does maintenance and prays in it. Apparently she is the last remnant of a large congregation whose former glory has faded into the past. When the kallah learned that the mother of one of the local Jews was sick she prayed every day for her recovery and when the mother passed away, for 30 days she lit a candle for her neshomoh. And she was the one who insisted the wedding be performed kedas Moshe veYisroel, no matter what difficulties it entailed.

Preparations for the unusual wedding took weeks. Documents to prove the couple's Jewishness had to be obtained and submitted. "We received the kesuvos of both the bride and the groom's parents as well as official certificates from the population registrar there," recounts Rav Meir Rosental, the Chief Rabbi's assistant. "The anonymous third liaison helped the couple send copies of the relevant documents to the Jerusalem Rabbinate which checked the couple's Jewishness, and in addition to the documents we received, an upstanding Jew who used to live in that country and now lives in Israel confirmed their Jewishness. At the retirement home where he lives he clearly recalled the two, their families, and confirmed their identity beyond a doubt."

The inquiry found that the two were both unmarried and there was no issue of Kohen ugrushoh. Based on the kesubos the couple are descendants of gedolei Yisroel. Comparing that exalted past to what takes place there today is very discouraging.

Where could a couple like this get married? Of course they could be brought into Israel secretly, married and sent back home, but this idea scared the two, who were well aware of what could happen if the information reached their home country.

Why do such a couple choose to remain in a country so inhospitable to Jews? The answer to this question is a very simple, Jewish answer: there is a sick mother involved. She cannot be left alone. So they took risks — leaving single and coming back married — to tend to the sick mother.

Not in Amman

The obvious solution was Jordan, which was accessible to both Israelis and the engaged couple. "We recruited a few avreichim," recounts Rabbi Rosental, "and asked them to travel to Jordan to make a minyan. The group of avreichim set out in a vehicle belonging to Hatzoloh of Judea and Samaria.

"The couple reached the hotel in Amman but the Jordanian authorities would not let Chief Rabbi Metzger into the country. The avreichim remained in Amman for a whole day. Because of Chief Rabbi Metzger's diplomatic passport we had permission to be on the Allenby Bridge. When the avreichim realized the wedding was not going to take place in Amman they tried to return via the Allenby Bridge but were not given permission and had to drive back to the Beit She'an border crossing, which demonstrates how complicated the relations are between us and even a neutral country like Jordan."

It was Israel's Deputy Ambassador to Jordan who thought of the idea of holding the wedding at the Allenby Crossing and he even took part in the event.

Indeed the wedding was held at the Allenby Bridge terminal. The couple never set foot on Israeli soil. There was no need to arrange a minyan since some 70 people were on hand at the highly unusual wedding held at the terminal.

The chosson arrived pale and trembling. The fear on his face spoke volumes about the state of fear the Jews live in there. He was received with a burst of applause and enveloped in warmth and a feeling of simchah. The two were surprised to see what a nice wedding had been arranged for them. There were tastefully-set tables laden with food. The company Hatzorfim sent the couple a gift: an attractive silver goblet they used at the chuppah. The chuppah itself was brought from Israel along with the wine and a glass. The couple even received a fine kesuboh, compliments of a medallion company. The witnesses were Chief Rabbi Metzger and Rav Rosental.

The chosson was taught about what would take place at the chuppah and its halachic significance. The kallah did not arrive in a wedding dress. Too dangerous. And the couple came without relatives, surrounded by strangers. But at least the strangers were Jews, and in fact many of them shed tears. Later there was singing and dancing. It was a simple affair, but no simple matter. Everyone on hand was moved.

They even received a wedding present. The head of coordination at the Allenby terminal, Roni Satrota, presented the young couple with a book of Tehillim. "My mother gave me this before she passed away 27 years ago," he said.

The wedding ended and the time came for the newlyweds to part from what was to them a very large gathering of Jews and return to their hostile land. But they were able to stay at the hotel for a short time, enjoying a bit of respite before returning home. They have plans to come to Eretz Yisroel as soon as possible in order to live full Jewish lives kedas Moshe veYisroel.


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