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HARMONY IN THE HOME Shalom Bayis Roundtable Discussion




Rabbi Avrohom Katz shlita

DANCING BACKWARDS Mordechai Schmutter





Dear Reader ...............................................6 The Ultimate Simcha ................................8 Nor Simchas ............................................ 12 The Lost Chosson.................................... 16 Depends How You View It .................... 32 Picture Perfect.......................................... 36 It’s Totally Normal.................................. 42 On a Wing and a Prayer ........................ 54 Harmony in the Home .......................... 68 Mitzvah Tantz in Shanghai................... 84 In laws and Outlaws............................... 90 Dancing Backwards............................... 98 Passport to Marriage............................ 104 Pointers from the Pro .......................... 112 In tune with his Clients........................ 118 Twenty years of Making Weddings..... 128 Gemach list ........................................... 134 Directory List......................................... 136






Dear Reader,

From the moment a baby is laid upon the bris cushion, ensconced in shimmery satin and frothy white lace, the brachos reverberate around him, their words mingling with hearty mazal tovs. “…Shetizku l’gadlo l’Torah l’chuppah ul’maasim tovim - may you merit raising him to Torah, to marriage and to good deeds!” Indeed, this yom hachuppah is a day we dream about throughout our child’s youth. We can do no more than pray and trust, for every zivug has been orchestrated before birth, but we can answer a sincere amen every time we are bequeathed with the priceless blessing, because there is nothing a parent can wish for more than to see their grown child, once again bedecked in white, at the significant milestone of marriage some 20 years down the line. So awe-inspiring is the day of marriage, so everlasting the moment of prayer, that the Chozeh of Lublin lamented the fact that it is bestowed upon bachurim and young girls who are just wrapping up their teen years and barely comprehend the power beneath the chuppah canopy. He writes that, were he to have gone through that stage as an elderly, venerated tzaddik, he believes the intensity and depth of his prayers would have been able to bring Moshiach! Such is the power of the wedding day. On a material level, it is interesting to note that extravagant preparations towards a child’s wedding are not something to be downplayed as a mere trend of today’s pampered generation; the opulence is intricately described in sefarim about our sages centuries back. The Gemara in Nedarim says that Rabbeinu Hakadosh spent two-hundred-and-forty million dinars on his son Reb Shimon’s wedding, which took place in a specially-built palatial hall and to which he invited all the Tanna’im and talmidei chachamim of his time. If carried out with the right attitude, and in accordance with one’s individual budget, the splendour of a wedding contributes to the simchas chassan v’kallah. But more importantly, if the special day has been focussed upon with the sanctity and honour it deserves, then the golden rays of this glorious milestone will shine upon the new couple, illuminating the future which they will build together. In this indispensible simchah supplement we bring you the tips, the advice, the service providers and their contacts to ensure that the months leading up to your simchah become stress-free, so that you can bask in the fortune of this milestone with peace of mind and attain the level of euphoria befitting the occasion. May every Jewish parent be zocheh to the sacred, nachas-filled task of raising their children l’Torah l’chuppah ul’maasim tovim! Mazel tov and b’shaah tovah!

The Editors







All baalei simchah want their chasunah to be the most beautiful, enjoyable, memorable and impressive evening. Whilst involved in the whirlwind of events that lead up to a simchah’s reality, one could be forgiven for thinking that the product, venue or service one chooses will influence the outcome of the simchah. There is, however, one ingredient of a simchah which is probably its most important component, and which is impossible to order from any supplier in advance. I am referring to the simchah and atmosphere of the chasunah. One can order the most lavish menu at a five-star hotel, with a tenpiece band and three international singers, and it is possible that the event will have no Yiddishe taam whatsoever. Everyone can remember a chasunah where the simchah was tangible in the air. The chassan was radiant, the mechutanim were glowing, the dancing was truly lively and all the guests left feeling inspired. What is the secret behind such an evening and what is the key to emulate it? Chazal teach us; “Ish v’ishah zochu, shechinah beineihem” (Sotah 17). The shem Hashem “Kah” is formed by the sacred union of a Jewish couple. Every new Jewish household is a new sanctuary for the shechinah.



The story is told of Maran Hagaon Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, who was returning home after a day at yeshivah, accompanied by a talmid. As he approached his home Rav Shlomo Zalman straightened his beard and tucked his peiyos neatly behind his ears. His talmid asked him, “Rebbe, are you expecting visitors?” To his astonishment, Rav Shlomo Zalman replied, “Ish v’ishah shechinah beineihem, I am preparing to greet the shechinah.” This story will not be complete without another anecdote about Rav Shlomo Zalman. At the funeral of his Rebbetzin, after many years of marriage, Rav Shlomo Zalman was approached by the head of the chevrah kaddisha to ask mechilah from the nifteres. Rav Shlomo Zalman responded, “If this is the minhag, I will not be different than anyone else, but really I have nothing to ask mechilah for, for everything was done according to halachah.” Such a holy home, permeated with middos tovos and dikduk halachah, is the true mikdash me’at which merits hashraas hashechinah. If the young couple understands the awesome responsibility they carry of adding another ring to the chain which has spanned the centuries since the Avos Hakedoshim and if they are aware of the great merit they have to be another link in passing the continued on page 10





The Wine Cellar, opened in December 2011 in Stamford Hill, has earned its reputation, for stocking one of the widest ranges of kosher wine in the UK, in its beautiful store, replete with personalised and dedicated service. Featuring over 400 different wines from around the world, including such far-flung locations as Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and California, not to mention better known wine producers such as France, Italy, and of course Israel. You might think such a vast number of choices would be confusing, but with the bottles displayed according to region, type and vintage, it is an enjoyable experience to pick the bottle suited for your occasion or to grace your Shabbos and Yom Tov meal, and with assistance if you are unsure of what to buy, it is a pleasure to visit from anywhere. Special service and attention is given to help plan your simcha and select which wines to serve your guest. In the comfortable ambience of the designated Tasting Room, baalei simcha have the opportunity to discuss their requirements, and taste their selection to enable them to serve their guest with confidence, making it an enjoyable and relaxing part of preparing for their upcoming simcha. Wishing to serve a specific special wine, of your favourite vintage? Wines are sourced from around the world satisfying every palate. Customers return again and again, becoming friends as The Wine Cellar assists them through their life-cycle events. Featured are beverages for every menu and occasion to suit every budget. Whether it’s a shalom zachor, a bris, bar mitzvah, engagement, or chasunah, The Wine Cellar will have the perfect one – wines of all types and vintages, champagne, beer, spirits, upscale whiskeys and liqueurs - and will be happy to deliver them to the customer’s venue. The prices are very competetive, and Baalei simcha receive additional promotions. If you want to make your evening extra special, The Wine Cellar will provide a wine bar, a whisky bar, or a cocktail bar – including drinks and service. The

wine bar, in particular, can be useful at simchos to prevent any issues connected with serving non-mevushal wine. Accompanying the fabulous wine selection in its boutique environment, The Wine Cellar prides itself on its stunning arrangements featuring artistic wine and chocolate displays unparalleled in class and beauty. Share your appreciation, best wishes and Mazal Tov to friends, acquaintances and donors by sending them a beautiful arrangement from the vast selection to suit every taste. New Baby, Thank you, range for Men, Bridal range or simply Good Shabbos- Prices starting at under £20, to £185 for the ultimate gifting and Custom designs are available to order for unique presentations. New designs launched for every Yomtov and season, look out for our Purim selection published soon for your ultimate in Shalach Monos giving. Corporate and institutional gifting needs are all taken care of with one phone call- Visit the Wine Cellar to see the full arrangement selection on display - a feast for the eyes, as well as featured online for hassle free ordering from any location. Why not attend one of their regular, exclusive wine- or whisky-tasting events, in the tasting room? These events are both fun and educational, as they are hosted by experts in the field, who will explain the intricacies of grape varieties and wine producing regions, as well as describing how the wine is actually made and stored, to bring out the potential of each vintage and produce the best results, or an informative session on the wonders of the whiskey World. Suitable for people with all levels of knowledge of wine, wine tasting is an ideal way to spend time with friends or with business associates, in a relaxed and friendly environment. Firmly on the visitors to London itinerary....A visit to The Wine Cellar’s attractive shop is worth a trip from anywhere! For enquiries please call 020 8800 8488 email: sales@



mesorah of Torah and avodas Hashem to the next generation, and that they are becoming partners with the Alm-ghty Himself (“shloshah shutfim yesh baadam: Hakadosh Baruch Hu, aviv v’imo” [Kiddushin 30]), then they will merit the blessing that Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon gave Klal Yisrael at the completion of the Mishkan – “Yehi ratzon shetishreh shechinah b’maasei yedeichem.” In light of the above the sefarim explain the essence of of simchas chassan v’kallah. We say at the chasunah, “shehasimchah bim’ono”- the simchah is in Hashem’s abode. The purpose of the world was that Hashem should find a dirah b’tachtonim – as it says, “v’shachanti b’socham.” When Hashem sees a new couple, pure and unblemished after mechillas avonos on their great day, He looks down from His holy abode


and rejoices with this new Mishkan. Where there is shechinah there is simchah, as we say, “Oz v’chedvah bimkomo.” This is the secret ingredient of those special chasunos; a taste of the sublime, a closeness to the shechinah, the ecstasy of kirvas Hashem. At those chasunos the chassan v’kallah are raising their eyes Heavenward and praying that they will fulfill the holy mission they have been entrusted with. So whilst preparing for your simchah, remember that all the externals are just a vessel, a showcase for the real thing – simchah shel mitzvah. Harbeh nachas and a real mazal tov!

Rabbi Shloime Saberski is a Maggid Shiur in Yeshivas Lev Simcha London.




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You should be blessed with Simchos. If you have been blessed, you may have stood at the appropriate Kiddush and received the good wishes of those queuing in line. Some greet you with a happy voice and an ebullient “Mazel Tov – tons of nachas”, whilst pumping your arm vigorously. Others look at you with a doleful eye, no smile, and quietly intone “We should only meet at Simchos”, as if they’ve just attended the very opposite of a Simcha. Whichever end of the spectrum - Simchos are welcome and popular. The question is – what is a Simcha? Many people rejoice for a wide variety of reasons. Indeed the number of reasons to rejoice is as varied as the number of people. Many of those reasons are genuine – a personal achievement, an addition to the family, a milestone gained – and an equal number are perceived, but artificial. The advent of 2013 was celebrated with fireworks, cheering and drinking in many City Centers. Analyzing the cause of the celebration will discover an innate need to enthuse and cheer (a need unique to humans and not possessed by cows) rather than an intrinsic importance in turning a page of the calendar. Football fans will shout themselves hoarse if their team scores a goal but a sober appraisal will wonder why the kicking of a ball into the opponent’s net should be greeted with such ebullience and frenzy. It is after all a man-made game with man-made rules, and serves to prove that humans need to create a situation which offers an opportunity to celebrate, rather than anything solid or genuine having been achieved. Tickle me, and I’ll laugh, but if I tickle myself, there is no reaction. Hooray – we scored a goal! Analyze it and there’s nothing there. If happiness, or joy is a state of contentment achieved when all is fine in your world, then it is understandable that so many people will resort to artificial stimuli to


arrive at that elusive state. For everything is not fine in their world. When you subscribe to the World KefirahKlub, then everything is accidental, nothing has meaning, life has no purpose, no-one cares, everyone is a rival and competitor, and the best we can offer you is a comfortable ride on the conveyor belt, that carries you slowly but inexorably to absolute and irreversible oblivion. Help! Quick – pass me a drink – tell me a joke - score me a goal, let me forget that awful reality. The people who stood at Mt-Sinai, and their descendents, are the happiest people in the world. With our eyes we saw, with our ears we heard - Hashem communicate to us. He told us that He exists, He is your personal G-d (second-person singular) He knows what we are doing, loves us, protects us and whatever He does is for our good. Life is a blessing, and the best is always still to come. Life is bliss and the happiness of knowing Hashem, is the steady-state consequence of that knowledge. You don’t have to tell me jokes to make me forget the awful reality of life; to the contrary, the happiness engendered by my knowledge of Hashem and performance of His Mitzvos generates a constant aura of good-humour. That sense of humour is the result of my Simcha, not the cause. Is it not ironic? The greater the sense of gloom and doom engendered by those who walk in the dark, the louder must they play their music to override the pervasive depression generated by their own beliefs. Why then, when happy contented Yidden celebrate the Simchos sent by their loving Hashem, do they borrow the amplifiers and blasting decibels from the men of Darkness? The louder the noise, the less the Simcha. Only residents of Chelm could understand why happy Ba’alei Simcha pay good money to hire musicians to destroy their Simchos, guarantee that their guests cannot converse, whilst damaging everyone’s hearing. “Sorry – could you just repeat that – I didn’t hear you.”! Let there be Simchos – the incomparable joy of banishing doubt – the glowing happiness of knowing Hashem – and the intense ecstasy of receiving the exquisite gifts from Hashem in good health. Nor Simchos!

Nor Simchos


Rabbi Katz is the principle of Beis Chaya Rochel Seminary


st o L a ss a Ch THE





The warm, ripe afternoon rays have their own special glow as the sun begins its journey into the second half of the day. The chassan, the kallah cast their special joyous glow, having reached the warm, welcoming gateway of Jewish married life. AS TOLD TO DEBBIE SHAPIRO

When my husband told me that he had just gotten a phone call from a shadchan, with a suggestion for our daughter Shulamis, my immediate reaction was, “No way!” She was only sixteen, and although she was very mature for her age, sixteen is still sixteen. I felt that she really should wait at least another year before considering marriage. This wasn’t the first time that someone had called to suggest a shidduch for her. The shadchanim began pestering us while we were still in the midst of her older sister’s sheva brachos — and Shulamis was only twelve years old at the time. But Shulamis had a certain confidence that made her appear much older than her age. So when I’d point out that the young woman they had seen helping at the sheva brachos was really still a child, they were flabbergasted. “No, no,” they’d argue, “Not that one. I’m talking about her older sister.” But she was that older sister. So that afternoon, when my husband mentioned that a shadchan had just called, and that this time it sounded like something worth listening to, I just laughed at the idea. But my husband had heard enough to be excited. “I know the boy’s father. I was at his wedding, and even attended his sheva brachos — real nice, ehrlicher people. His grandfather was one of the tzaddikim of Jerusalem of yore. How could we not take such a suggestion seriously?” Personally, I thought the idea was completely crazy, but I grudgingly agreed to ask our Rav for his opinion. He also knew the family, and promised to look into the bachur for us, which wasn’t difficult, as both his brother and brother-in-law were maggidei shiur at the boy’s yeshivah. The information he received was excellent. “The boy is a real gem,” our Rav told us. “You’d be a fool to turn down such a suggestion.” I couldn’t contain my surprise. I had been positive that he’d respond, “What’s the rush? Let her enjoy life a bit.” My husband was thrilled; this was exactly what he had always wanted. But I was devastated. As the oldest daughter at home, Shulamis literally ran my household. Her idea of relaxation was to clean the refrigerator or reorganise the linen closet. She loved sewing, and thanks to her creativity we were all beautifully dressed. How would I ever manage without her? After several more phone calls, we — well, at least my husband, Yehoshua — arrived at the same conclusion as the Rav. Now, the only problem was, continued on page 22




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how do we break the news to Shulamis? She wasn’t at all interested in getting married. Shulamis’ first reaction was, “I’m still a kid. Leave me alone,” but after more details, she agreed to see him — but only from a distance. So Yehoshua phoned the shadchan to tell her that he was willing to meet the boy, and that while he would talk with him, his daughter would be watching from a distance. That’s how Shulamis and I found ourselves sitting on a lone park bench late one night, waiting anxiously for my husband and the said bachur to emerge from the shul for a short stroll along the meandering paths. The shul door opened. “There they are,” I almost shouted in excitement. “Shhhh… someone will hear you,” Shulamis whispered, her face beet red. Then, the unthinkable happened. Yehoshua and Shlomo, the bachur in question, headed directly to where we were sitting and strolled back and forth — and back and forth, and back and forth — right in front of us. “Poor guy,” my daughter whispered when they were at the far end of the path, before turning around to walk in front of us again. “How embarrassing to be put on display like that.” It wasn’t until several years later that I learned that my husband and Shlomo were so engrossed in their

discussion that they didn’t even realise that we were there! Girl liked boy (at least from a distance). Father liked boy — but we still had no idea if boy liked girl. So a meeting was set up for the following evening in my married daughter’s home; well actually, it wasn’t just the couple. As per Yerushalmi custom, both sets of parents would also be coming. I am not Yerushalmi. Yes, I like the Yerushalmi, and I admire their insular lifestyle, permeated with kedushah and taharah, but despite the fact that I have lived in Israel for many, many years, I am still very American. So while the couple met in the living room, I sat with Shlomo’s mother in the kitchen, talking about my latest work project, our newest grandchild, anything to be sociable. Shlomo’s mother was polite and responded to my questions, but did not carry her weight of the conversation. I later learned that I had made a huge social blunder. It’s customary that while the couple is meeting, the parents recite Tehillim, asking Hashem to guide the youngsters in making the right decision. But Shulamis was not interested in seeing Shlomo again. “I don’t think he’s what I’m looking for,” she told us the moment Shlomo and his parents left. I was thrilled. continued on page 28

“ I LATER LEARNT THAT I had made a huge social blunder”



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“HE’S EXACTLY WHAT we’re looking for. What a gem. Such Middos; a real masmid...” My husband was devastated. Later on that evening, over a cup of hot cinnamon tea, my husband and I had what I’ll call a “discussion.” “I don’t understand it. How could she turn him down like that? He’s exactly what we’re looking for. What a gem; such middos; a real masmid; the top boy in his shiur... how could she just say no?” “She didn’t like him,” I retorted (Yay!). “We can’t push her to get married. She’s not even seventeen... I think she wants someone more worldly.” “Worldly? Limmud Torah’s everything. This guy is totally immersed in his Torah! We’re not pushing her. But she could at least give him another chance. Such a gem; such middos; a real masmid…” Eventually I came to the conclusion that my husband was so enamored with this boy that he wasn’t hearing what I was saying. “Let’s ask the Rav,” I suggested, positive that our neighborhood Rav would agree with me that we should just forget about the whole thing. After all, Shulamis was only sixteen — and she didn’t even like the guy! But the Rav’s response was similar to my husband’s. “Such a gem; such middos, a real masmid… (you get the idea…). Did she actually say ‘no’?” he asked me. “Well, not exactly, she just said that she doesn’t think she’s interested.” “Tell her not to think so hard,” he chuckled. “And tell her that I say she should meet him a second time. If, after the second time, she still thinks this way, well, what can I tell you? You can’t push her into it. But such a gem; such good middos; a real masmid…” When I told Shulamis what the Rav said, her response was clear. She’d be willing to meet Shlomo a second time for the simple reason that we are her parents and she is obligated to respect us. But no way



would she ever marry the guy. I was thrilled. My husband was devastated. The next afternoon, Shlomo and Shulamis met a second time, again, in my married daughter’s living room. This time, they spoke for close to three hours. At the end of the three hours, when my married daughter called to let me know that Shlomo had just left, I didn’t even give her a chance to say hello before asking. “How’d it go?” I could hear the smile in her voice as she replied, “Shulamis is right here. Why don’t you ask her?” “Nu? How’d it go?” I was positive that she’d tell me that she never wanted to see him again. Instead, her voice broke as she responded, “If he’s interested, and Dor Yesharim says we’re suitable, well, then, I want to marry him.” For once, I was speechless. “Are you sure?” I finally asked. “Yes,” she responded, sounding both buoyant and confident. The next few minutes were what I can only describe as blissful pandemonium. Since we had gotten the okay from Dor Yesharim even before they met, I phoned the shadchan and asked her to relay Shulamis’ response to the other side. Ten minutes later, she called us back to tell us that yes, Shlomo wants to marry my daughter. We made up that Shlomo and his family would come to our house at nine o’clock that evening to break the plate and make it official. I raced to the room where my two younger daughters were busy doing homework. “I need your help quick,” I yelled. Shulamis is getting engaged (gulp!). Tonight!” While Shulamis was busy getting dressed for her engagement party, my two younger daughters cleaned

our house until it shone. Meanwhile, I called all my married children to share the good news, and to tell them that they should come straight over to our house if they didn’t want to miss their sister’s l’chaim. Cakes and drinks were bought, the table was set, and we all took showers and put on our Shabbos best, then sat down in our living room to wait for the honored guests’ arrival. We waited and waited, and waited some more. Nine o’clock passed, and then ten o’clock, and then ten-thirty. The neighborhood Rav came, wished us a hearty mazal tov, and then left. My grandchildren were getting rambunctious, the house didn’t shine anymore, and we were all eating and laughing to keep ourselves from stating the unmentionable. The pile of cakes was getting dangerously low. “Do you think they changed their minds?” I whispered to my husband, after peering out the window for the umpteenth time. He didn’t answer. He was as perplexed — and worried — as I was. Finally, close to midnight, we heard the sound of several minibuses pulling up in front of our building. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang, and the festivities began. Of course Shlomo’s family politely apologised for coming late, and we, of course, politely laughed and said it was nothing. But we were very confused. We only learned the rest of the story close to a year later, when my by-then-very-happily-married daughter heard it from her husband. My son-in-law, Shlomo, had agreed to the shidduch after the first meeting, but had been told that Shulamis had insisted that she meets him at least three times before making a decision. That afternoon’s meeting was over before seven. Shlomo knew that if he returned home, he’d end up talking to his sisters instead of learning. On the other hand, if he returned to yeshivah, all his friends would figure out that he had skipped seder because of a shidduch. So he popped into

one of the many shuls dotting Meah Shearim to pack in some learning before returning home (I said he was a masmid…). Meanwhile, Shlomo’s family was frantic. Shlomo was always either at home or at the yeshivah, but now he was in neither place. Suddenly, one of his sisters had an idea. It was just a few days before Purim, and many of the bachurim in their kehillah were at shul, rehearsing for the annual Purim shpiel. “Maybe Shlomo went to shul to watch the rehearsals,” she suggested. Shlomo’s mother immediately asked her not-yet-thirteen-year-old son, Shmuli, to run to the shul to see if Shlomo was there. Little Shmuli raced out of the house, feeling very grown up to be charged with such an important mission. Puffing and panting, he entered the shul and breathlessly asked, “Is Shlomo here? We need him, quick!” The bachurim immediately sensed that something unusual was going on. “Why do you need Shlomo? Is it an emergency?” one of them slyly asked. “Well, kind of…” Shmuli mumbled, before telling them the exciting news that his older brother was getting engaged that night. Shmuli returned home to tell his family that Shlomo was not in shul. But meanwhile, the good news spread fast, and it wasn’t long until the entire Meah Shearim knew that Shlomo was a chassan. The only person who didn’t know, however, was Shlomo himself! At eleven o’clock, Shlomo gently replaced the worn Gemara on the bookshelf. Then he donned his hat, wrapped himself up in his warm winter coat and left the shul to return home. On his way, several people stopped him to wish him a hearty mazal tov. He assumed it was because his sister had given birth that morning. Five minutes later he opened the front door and was surprised to see his entire extended family sitting there, staring at him, their faces a combination of curiosity and amusement. “Where were you?” his father asked. “Shlomo, hurry up, your kallah’s waiting for you,” interjected his mother. Meanwhile, one sister started polishing his right shoe, while the other one grabbed his hat right off his head and began brushing it with a vengeance. Within minutes, two minibuses pulled up in front of their house, and, less than a quarter of an hour later — and close to three hours after the agreed-upon time — they knocked on our door. During the ten-month engagement period, the chassan and kallah did not see each other or speak to each other. On several occasions, however, we had what is termed a “vishita” or official state visit. While all the men gathered in the chassan’s house, the women gathered in our house, and, well, continued on page 30




“QUICKLY, THIS IS a medical emergency. Call an ambulance.”

visited. Of course we made all sorts of fancy delicacies that everyone was too polite to eat, and were quickly gobbled up by the grandchildren and their mothers the moment the company walked out the door. Less than a week before the wedding, I decided to try on my new outfit and matching shoes to see if they were comfortable enough for me to really dance in. After polkaing around the living room with my next-door neighbour, I went to the bathroom to get a tissue and slipped, banging my knee into the corner of a wall. I remember lying there, in agony, looking at my grossly deformed knee and wondering why this was happening to me now, just days before my daughter’s wedding. Barely able to speak from the pain, I managed to gasp, “Quickly, this is a medical emergency. Call an ambulance.” My neighbour, still in shock at the sudden turn of events, looked at me in disbelief and asked, “Are you sure you really need an ambulance?” At that, I totally lost my cool. “Yes,” I screamed. “Now!” I don’t remember too much after that, but the Hatzolah people later told me that I was very funny and kept on cracking jokes when most people would probably be screaming. The only thing I remember saying is that when one of them asked me what had happened, I replied, “My mother-inlaw’s plane is landing now (which it was!). I guess I just didn’t want to have to deal with that…” And that is how I ended up dancing on one foot for the entire wedding and, if I may say so myself, I was actually pretty good at it. The chuppah took place in a school yard, surrounded by overcrowded apartment buildings and trash cans. There was no music. But



without the theatrics and shtick, I mamash felt the seriousness of the moment. As a matter of fact, rather than spend the day having her sheitel done and waiting for the makeup artist to arrive, the mechutenister fasted and recited Tehillim for the young couple’s future happiness. Both sets of parents escorted the young couple to cheder yichud, and yes, my daughter entered with her right foot, and we broke the traditional bagel over their heads as they stepped over the threshold. While I hopped on one foot with an ugly white bandage wrapped around my other leg, my daughter, the kallah, was following the Yerushalmi minhag of wearing black shoes (yes, black shoes!) under her wedding gown. My best friend was appalled, but she later told me that as much as she kept on looking at Shulamis’ feet, she never once managed to see her shoes. In the middle of the wedding, a Yerushalmi Rebbetzin that I am friendly with walked into the hall, and I hopped over to greet her. After wishing each other a hearty “mazal tov,” she looked at me with a curious expression on her face and asked, “So who do you know here?” We returned home exhausted and ecstatic — and starving! The first thing we did upon entering the house was to make a beeline to the refrigerator and prepare a quick meal of cornflakes and milk. Yes, cornflakes and milk; all of us — the entire family! — were milchig. Between shaking hands and dancing, we had not managed to eat anything more than a k’zayis of bread! And for once, I’ll admit it: I was wrong, and my husband was completely right. Shlomo was, and still is, a real gem, and yes, it was, and still is, a great shidduch, replete with numerous dividends, bli ayin hara.

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HOW YOU VIEW IT Scenario: “I picked up the cutest little sweater, shirt and trousers today, Shimon. I think it will be perfect for Chani’s Yossi and Devorah’s Shmuel. Amazing how I managed to find the right sizes in that mess of a store!” “How much did you spend, Bayla?” her husband asked her gingerly. “Nothing – only £35 each! You know how I can’t resist a bargain”, she replied, “especially, when it is for our cute grandchildren! I think I’m going to drop it around after Shabbos.”






My first reaction to the small bag thrust into my hands was despair. Would this be another outfit I would feel I had to put on Yossi, even though I strongly felt it would not be my taste at all? It wasn’t the outfit that bothered me – though I would probably have to pretend to like it. It was more than that- it was what that small Shabbos outfit in the glossy, gold gift bag represented! Just last week, my mother-in-law – Mummy to us, I guess - announced proudly she had bought “a wonderful little Shabbos outfit” for my oldest child, Yossi. Today, she brought it over, remarking that his current Shabbos jumper had looked rather washed out and out of shape. We are talking about a boy’s navy blue sweater – that has been worn a total of five times! How out of shape and washed out can it be? To be honest, my mother-in-law and I have never seen eye to eye. When I think back to the early days when I was a young, fresh kallah, newly engaged, I can almost feel myself becoming tense. Now, let me assure you, I’m not a shy or reserved girl. I have never feared meeting new people and I am able to make conversation easily. So what was it about my mother-in-law that caused me to feel uncomfortable? Was it a personality clash or merely a dislike for this short woman who stood before me? I personally think that it was her mannerisms that irritated me right from the start. Her bubbly and overall loud personality was in stark contrast to my quiet and reserved mother. Along with that, she had and still has, the annoying habit of constantly wanting to know details of my private life. My own mother would never ask me how much dinner Yossi ate, say for yesterday’s lunch; or personal questions about my job. Yet, my mother-in-law seems to think it is normal and usual to ask me all this! The only thing is, I guess I have to give her some credit for taking an interest in her grandson. Although she is interfering, she gives him her full attention whenever we pop round to visit. Likewise, when she and my father-in-law come over for a supper or Shabbos meal, she most often will chat to my Yossi and sometimes will even read him a story. What annoys me immensely is that however much she can be the doting grandmother; she is still the interfering mother-in-law. Everyone would agree with me, except for Devorah, my sister-inlaw (who is married to Gedalia – my husband Tzvi’s, only brother). For some inexplicable reason, she gets along with “Mummy” like a house on fire! Well, I have decided that this time, regarding that outfit, I am not going to let things be. The only difficulty will be getting Tzvi to see my point of view. I suppose he has it hard, that she and I don’t have this perfect mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship. But it’s tough. The past three years, I have silently swallowed my pride, only occasionally complaining to him. Each time I have brought up his mother in conversation, he’s become defensive and has accused me of being petty and immature. It’s a shame, because if not for his annoying mother, our married life and shalom bayis would be perfect!

Well, that telephone call did not go well. Mummy seems shocked that I wanted to return the gift. She explained harshly that there was no way the outfit could be returned, since it had been bought in the sale. I could sense that she was taken aback by the lack of gratitude towards her. Oh well, this time round I’ll let things be. Next time, I won’t.


I think I have the nicest mother-in-law! Today, she surprised me with a gorgeous Shabbos outfit for my four-year-old boy, Shmuel. She is so generous like that! Mummy, as she is known to all of us, is always looking out for her grandchildren! When she goes looking for clothes for herself or Daddy, she can’t resist picking up a little something for her family. Even when she does her weekly grocery shop, she buys some extra nosh for her einiklach! Mummy and I have always had that great, close relationship. I suppose it’s because she is a genuinely warm person. We “hit it off” right from the start! This is interesting because she is very different to my mother, who’s quieter. Right from when I was a newly engaged kallah, I found I could talk to my mother-in-law about anything. She has this sparkling personality, which automatically makes those around her feel comfortable and special! She’s always been very involved in all that’s going on in our family. She’ll ring at least three or four times a week, just to check that everyone and everything is fine. I think it’s sweet. It’s weird because my sister-in-law, Chani (my husband Gedalia’s brother’s wife), always complains about Mummy’s weekly phone calls. I really can’t understand why it bothers her so much, but I suppose we have different characters. Perhaps she finds it slightly intrusive. I don’t, at all. The thing is, in all honesty, when Mummy handed me the gift bag, I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, I appreciate her generosity and the fact that she is always so devoted to all of us. However, sometimes – and I would never discuss this with my husband - it can get to be too much. I take great care not to spoil our two children. In my opinion, a three-year-old boy does not need more than one thing to wear on Shabbos. Similarly, I am very careful not to buy expensive, fancy nosh, even as a treat for Shabbos. I strongly believe children do not have big expectations and will be just as happy with less. But my dear mother-in-law just can’t resist spoiling us all. So I hold my tongue, and try to always look excited and pleased with whatever she brings over. It does go against my chinuch views, but sometimes shalom bayis is more important. Anyway, as long as my Shmuel and Tirtza understand that I won’t spoil them in this way, it’s okay. I think they understand that their Bubby just can’t resist pampering them! When the subject of mothers-in-law comes up in conversation, I can’t stop raving about mine. Everyone should be this lucky, to have a mother-in-law like mine. My friends and family (with the exception of my sister-in-law, Chani) think I’m so lucky. Strange






Flash. The pink hue of roses. Sparkling ring. Diamante tiara. Flash. The sun-kissed wig. White lace dress. Princess shoes. Flash. The ceiling high. Big brass drums. Floor at large. Flash.

Days, weeks, months spent worrying and pondering, dissecting and selecting, paying and praying. Fuchsia flowers with the ideal scent, half closed as if waiting for the day to come alive. Winter-white gown with Victorian lace, forty three buttons at the back and a mother-of-pearl clasp at the neck. A perfectly coiffed wig with strawberry-blonde highlights that winked at the sun. Professional violinist, expert drummer and skilled keyboard players. The hall’s ceiling that caressed clouds, a carpet that melted feet, chandeliers that necessitated sunglasses. Food that was more elegance than edible, and drink more diverse than desirable. Nary a detail was forgotten; such perfection was rare, even the excitement was tangible. Stunned, the photographer gave a small smile, a tear caught in his eye. With a flick of the wrist the moment was caught in his lens.

Marriage proved blissful. The young couple



were floating above the ground, pulled down by nothing, buoyant in their new status. The day the wedding pictures came, excitement reached fever pitch. The brown leather album was caressed and the couple spent hours poring over page after glossy page. Each angle was analysed, every detail discussed and every moment remembered. Friends and family came to scrutinise the proofs of the picture-perfect wedding. Everything seemed ideal. So happy and self-absorbed was

continued on page 40





Ora Ve Simcha

Ora Ve Simcha is the result of a musical partnership between Dean Greenfield and Paul Greenberg. Offering a band of between four and eight pieces, comprising bass, drums, keyboard, vocalist, lead guitar, trumpet and saxophonist, Ora Ve Simcha will truly illuminate and bring joy to your event. With a wide repertoire of music, playing all your favourites, both traditional and contemporary, the band will ensure that your simcha flows like a dream and your guests flock to the dancefloor. The music is arranged by Dean and sung by Paul and the on-stage energy and passion of the group shines through as the music merges from one song seamlessly into the next. Whether it’s a chuppah, background music for the chasunah seudah, lively music for bringing simcha to chassan and kallah, a barmitzvah or sheva brachos, every event is unique and Ora Ve Simcha will bring their flair and attention to detail to enhance your simcha. The band has played at events at many of London’s top West End venues. Prior to each event, Ora Ve Simcha will meet with the baalei simcha to discuss their function, enabling them to get a feel for the tastes of the hosts and ensure that the music is personalized for each event. Paul told Hamodia, “We treat every simcha as though it is our own. We might have played at many weddings, but for the baalei simcha, this a unique event and we want it to feel special.” Ora Ve Simcha have recently released their debut album, “Assay Lemaan” featuring 11 tracks with a unique and imaginative approach. It showcases Israeli singer Yechiel Lichtiger, together with Paul Greenfield and includes a variety of styles of music to suit every taste, whilst providing the listener with an original and emotional musical experience. This combination of originality and emotion is part of what makes the band so special in live performance at a simcha. How did this creative partnership begin? It all started on a kiruv programme in Yerushalayim, some 12 years ago. It was a trip that saw the beginnings of both a religious journey and a musical partnership between Dean and Paul, that has eventually lead to the birth of Ora Ve Simcha. The album and the music they play at simchas is a reflection of this journey and of the brachos which the pair feel they have received from the Ribbono Shel Olam.




Braun’s Judaica

It’s no surprise that Braun’s of London has attracted customers from as far as Australia. With their vast range of gifts and Judaica, excellent gift-wrapping and delivery service, and a refreshingly pleasant customer service, shopping at Braun’s is indeed first choice. Brothers Itche and Yidel Braun personally take care of every customer’s needs, finding the role they play in giftgiving, such as bar/bas mitzvahs and weddings, an exceptionally rewarding part of their business. “When a bubby calls from overseas, and she caringly dictates a personal greeting for her grandchild’s gift, it warms our hearts, and we wrap the item accordingly, with great attention, so that it has her delicate touch to it!” relates Itche. Popular gift ideas include embossed machzorim for the kallah, a silk gartel for the chassan, pastel-coloured leatherbound Tehillim for a bas mitzvah occasion and, for the bar mitzvah boy, a host of favourites ranging from sefarim, a becher set or a foldaway shtender. Pop in for a browse at 82 Dunsmure Road, London, N16 5JY, or order by phone (020) 8809-9393 or e-mail


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the couple that their oblivion caused devastating destruction. Absently leaving the gas on after a successful supper, they went on a late-night stroll, time not of essence. They were unmindful of anything on return to their humble abode, but, horrifically, the sight that met them was - fire! Crackle crackle. The enormous orange blaze leaped, the house was slowly being burnt to cinders, but all that was heard was an anguished cry of, “Our pictures!” The flames flew over the soft leather, destroying the glamour, wasting the expense, ruining the memories. All over. A sham. Even the rivers of tears did not extinguish the fire as it licked away the last remnants of the house and, worst of all, the photographs; the signs that bound them together as a married couple. The young wife could find no solace. A house could be obtained and clothes bought, but pictures were irreplaceable. Months passed but the lack of pictures marred all happiness. With sudden inspiration it was realised that the only thing that could be of comfort was a reenactment of the wedding.

New tickets were booked for all to be flown in. Fresh cream cakes were frantically made. The band was summoned in urgency, even the florist was called upon to make it the right shade of pink. The gown once again bedecked a glowing bride, not a single button was missing. Her wig, now redone, sat in the right position, and not a strand was out of



“THE ENORMOUS orange blaze leaped, the house was slowly being burnt to cinders!” place. She clutched another bouquet, her eyes twinkling at her husband of four months, her motherin-law’s gentle hand at her elbow. She smiled. The photographer’s hand caught midair, the camera malfunctioned. All efforts to sort it out were in vain. Experts were called in, in desperate attempts to fix the offending item. To no avail.

At that moment the already-had-been-bride lifted her eyes and met the gaze of a pair of eyes similar to her own, warm and brown but full of unshed tears, Bubby’s eyes. Bubby of oversweet perfume and kokosh cake. Bubby the old and wrinkled. But Bubby of strength and stamina. The aged, decrepit woman stood up, her physical height belying her internal strength. Hobbling towards the figure in the white gown, she stood mere inches away from the newlywed. Looking at the young, unscarred face, Bubby answered as usual – her words few but forceful; “I, too, got married, although in a DP camp. With a white sheet - not a dress, and with ten guests - not four hundred, but it was a wedding just the same, and, no, we didn’t have pictures.” Her small arm encircled the many descendants she had merited. Lifting her veil as though it had been blocking her vision, Shira was grateful for the broken camera. Have I focused on the unimportant details in life rather than on life itself?


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BY RABBI YISROEL REISMAN I was zocheh to learn with chassanim for many years at Yeshivah Torah Vodaath. The style at the yeshivah was to give seven to nine lessons, and to intersperse bits of shalom bayis advice within the halachic lessons. There came a time when I was just too busy, so I stopped teaching chassanim and others took over. But some chassanim asked me to spend one session with them to discuss the shalom bayis inyanim that I had shared over the years. I still remember the first time I did that. Before I sat down with the chassan, I took the shalom bayis advice that I had previously divided into many different discussions. I piled it all up, condensed it into one hour, and threw it at him in one shot. It was a total waste of time.

A person doesn’t absorb an understanding of shalom bayis the way he absorbs factual information. Facts can be piled on, but when it comes to shalom bayis, one has to appreciate what he’s hearing; he must internalise and absorb it. It has to become part of him. So I sat down and thought about it, and I tried to narrow everything down to the single, most important point that a young couple can use when they get married, the one idea that is the key to shalom bayis.

A NEW ANGLE The truth is that this idea is something that married couples should remember as well. To put it continued on page 44


NORMAL Agreeing to Disagree

Mystery and joyous wonder combine, as the golden late-afternoon sun hints to impending endings and new beginnings. At the Jewish wedding, families combine in joy and wonder as the chassan and kallah — the melech and malkah — end their separate journeys, to begin the golden journey of a new life as one.



S. Hoffman | Hamodia

quite simply, when a young man and woman meet, like each other, and ultimately get engaged — they focus on what they have in common. They are thrilled by their similarities and mutual interests. These discoveries make them feel close, and make them want to marry each other. After the chasunah, the similarities that attracted them at the beginning are taken for granted, and what they start to notice, of course, are the differences. And this idea, the idea that every married couple has differences, areas in which they’re not similar, areas in which they’re bound to disagree — understanding this concept is the key to shalom bayis. Now some would say, “Well, what eitzah do you give?” But that’s not the point. I don’t give any eitzah. I’m not stressing the idea of working out the differences; you work it out however you work it out! The idea is to know that when you walk down a block, and there are thirty houses to the right, thirty houses to the left — thirty couples to the right, thirty couples to the left — in every home, the same thing is happening. Couples are noticing their differences. Husband and wife are disagreeing over basic things, fundamental ideas… And it’s normal. When you know something is normal, you deal with it. You live with it. It has nothing to do with you being the right one for her and her being the right one for you. You’re shutfim, partners, and it’s normal for partners to disagree. When a person understands that something is normal, it does not aggravate him as much as it does when he thinks, “It should not be this way.” And so, a fundamental understanding that every couple must have in marriage is to know with certainty that there may be a million variables in life. Of those million vari-

ables, half a million, or maybe more, are areas in which the couple agrees. The other half million, though, are the areas where they disagree. How normal! Things in life can be done different ways, and two people are not always going to want to do things the same way.

DIFFERENT DOES NOT EQUAL BAD Later I discovered that this is, in fact, something the Chasam Sofer writes in Parashas Chayei Sarah. The Chasam Sofer discusses the pesukim in which Eliezer says to Lavan, “Make up your mind! Do you want the shidduch or not?” And Lavan tells Eliezer, “Lo nuchal daber eilecha ra o tov — We can’t say anything to you, either good or bad.” The Chasam Sofer asks: What do you mean, you can’t say anything good or bad? If you’re in favour of the shidduch, just say so. If you’re against it, say that. One way or the other, you should express your opinion! The Chasam Sofer offers a tremendous insight. When people ask for shidduch information, they are looking for similarities. They try to find ways in which the two are the same. And that’s human nature. That’s the way you look for a shidduch. But the reality of life is that it’s not good for a husband and wife to be identical. Thus, when it comes to considering a shidduch, one can’t say for certain whether it’s good or bad. Who knows? One may give information, and you’ll think it’s good, but it’s really bad. Or you may think it’s bad, and it’s really good. The Chasam Sofer gives an example. Sometimes in a marriage, one of the pair likes to spend money, and the other likes to save money. Now, if Hashem would make a shidduch in which both parties would

“YOU’RE SHUTFIM, PARTNERS and it’s normal for partners to disagree.”



continued on page 46

spend money freely, it might be a happy home, but there would be no money in the bank! On the other hand, if Hashem paired two “savers,” there might be a lot of money in the bank, but it wouldn’t be a happy home, because things would be too tight. So Hashem does us a favour. He matches one who likes to spend with one who likes to save — and yes, you heard me right, Hashem does that as a favour to us! You may like to save money, and Hashem gave you a spouse who’s quick to spend. It aggravates you. It upsets you. The Chasam Sofer is saying: Why does it upset you? That’s Hashem’s gift! It’s Hashem’s will, in this shidduch, that in the home, there should be a combination of middos, a balance in the way things are done. It’s something a person has to appreciate. That’s not to say a husband and wife can’t talk about their disagreements. But if they understand the words of the Chasam Sofer, they will be less aggravated. They will not take each disagreement as a personal affront. They will try to work things out in a manner that will satisfy each person’s needs. I’ve always thought that credit-card companies must know this Chasam Sofer. They send us our credit-card bills with a very neat perforation. I suppose that their intention in dividing it this way is that the husband should take care of the top half, and the wife, the bottom half. It’s probably not so good for the husband to examine the bottom half too carefully. And that’s the way it is in a home.

are the two most common sources of friction. First are the stereotypical male–female differences. These are areas in which the whole world seems to say that men are this way and women are that way. If a man is married to a woman who tends to be late — why take it personally? The world says that women are late. If a woman is married to a man who tends to be impatient, or too aggressive — it has nothing to do with him as an individual. Men are that way. I was once leaving yeshivah at the end of the day. As I turned the corner, I saw a good friend of mine waiting at the corner. He seemed to be waiting for a car ride, and it was obvious that he was upset and annoyed. He kept stepping off the sidewalk and glaring down the street with obvious impatience. It didn’t take too much imagination to assume that he was waiting for his wife to pick him up, and that she was late. Without breaking stride, I called out to him, “Yehudah, don’t blame her. Blame Hashem! That’s the way the Ribbono shel Olam made wives.”

“WHY DOES IT upset you? It’s Hashems gift!”

ENDLESS VARIATIONS There are many areas of difference, but here



The next day, I had forgotten my flippant, offhand remark, but he came to me and thanked me. He told me very seriously that my words had made a difference. Here he was, waiting. He had warned his wife that he had to be somewhere important, that he couldn’t be late. By the time she came, he was poised for an argument, and he was going to let her have it. But instead, when she pulled up, he got into the car and said, “Rabbi Reisman said it’s not your fault, it’s G-d’s fault.” They laughed, and everything was fine. So you see, it’s all a matter of what you expect, of what you demand. The second area has to do with the home in which you were raised. Each person is raised in a different home and is accustomed to doing things the way they are done in that home. When you get married, and the two of you build your own home, you expect to do things the way they were done in your house, and she expects things to be done the way that was considered proper in her house. It’s a very normal expectation. Let’s illustrate this with

one small example. He grew up in a home where they use disposable plastic tablecloths for the Shabbos table. Every week they roll it up and throw it out, and he hears his mother saying, “Ah! What a pleasure! I used to have to clean off the crumbs. Now, I just roll it up and throw it out. It’s wonderful.” She grew up in a home where her mother says, “Plastic tablecloths? For Shabbos Hamalkah? For a queen would you put out a plastic tablecloth?” Her parents feel that paper plates and plastics don’t belong on a Shabbos table. It’s a matter of frumkeit! And here they are, ready to set the table. He’s a good husband; he went shopping, bought a box of disposable tablecloths, and is spreading one out on the table. She says, “What are you doing?” And he thinks he’s doing the most wonderful thing — after all, his mother always says how wonderful it is! She is horrified. Where is his kavod for Shabbos — doesn’t he realize how the table looks with a plastic tablecloth? And this is only one example of the zillion things that take place in every household. The only refuah is for us to know that these differences are perfectly normal — that it is to be expected, that’s the way life is. There are differences; there are different opinions. Nobody has to be right, and nobody has to be wrong. Now you’ll ask me, “But what do you do? Who gives in?” That doesn’t matter. What matters is that you know it’s normal. This is the way things are. If you know it’s normal, you can deal with it. It might aggravate you to have the plastic, or not to have the plastic, but the fact that you and your spouse view the matter differently

“R’ REISMAN SAID it’s not you fault. It’s Hashems ‘fault’!

continued on page 50



“WHAT KIND OF a boy did you redt for my daughter?! has nothing to do with the shalom bayis in the home. Because this is the normal way that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is mezaveg zivugim. He puts together shidduchim in which people are not identical. Different expectations and different ideas about how to run a home are totally normal. All these things are part of the haloch-yelech of life. A person who goes out when it’s raining, and gets wet, doesn’t get angry at his wife. Is it his wife’s fault that it is raining outside? The normal irritations and aggravations of life, the frustration that we feel when things don’t go our way and our expectations are not met — we must learn to deal with these things as we deal with the weather. These things have nothing to do with your spouse. Just as we are not so foolish as to take bad weather personally, we should not get bent out of shape by normal differences of opinion within marriage. The main thing is that we must accept and even appreciate the fact that it is supposed to be this way. As the Chasam Sofer says, it’s a gift. Our homes are more balanced when each of us has a different perspective.

NEW VISTAS People say that marriage is fifty-fifty — you give in half the time and she gives in half the time. This assumption is a terrible mistake, and I’ll tell you why. Let’s take the example of the plastic tablecloth. Let’s say the husband is spreading out his plastic tablecloth, saying, “It’s G-d’s gift to humanity. You just roll it up and throw it out!” And she feels really uncomfortable. But she remembers hearing that you have to give in half the time. So she blinks back her tears, swallows hard, and says, “Fine.” Does he think that this goes on the record as part of the fifty percent of the time that she is supposed to give in? Of course not! He thinks, “What I said is



sensible. Of course we’re doing it this way!” In every area of married life, it’s going to be this way. When your spouse gives in, you don’t perceive it as a sacrifice. “Of course he’s doing it my way,” you think. “He’s being sensible.” And when you give in, the other side won’t feel that you’re giving in. Each person thinks that his opinion is the proper and normal thing. Thus, the key to shalom bayis is understanding and accepting the fact that there are differences of opinion. Intelligent people have different opinions. This should not affect the core of our shalom bayis. We must know this and our children must see this.

BALANCE IN THE HOME I just heard a great anecdote. Someone asked a Rosh Yeshivah to recommend a shidduch for his daughter. The Rosh Yeshivah knew that this was a chashuve family. He suggested a big masmid; “This is a perfect shidduch for your daughter.” They went out one time. The father of the girl came back to the Rosh Yeshivah and said, “What did you do? What kind of shidduch did you redt me? What kind of person is this?” The Rosh Yeshivah was shocked. “What happened?” The girl’s father said, “The meeting was a disaster!” “Really? What happened on the meeting?” The father said, “He picked up my daughter. As they drove along, he sat in silence. Finally my daughter spoke up: ‘How many siblings do you have?’ “He said, ‘What’s the difference? Why does that matter?’ “That was a strange answer. Was he trying to hide

continued on page 51

something? It was quiet again. They got to the lounge and sat down. Again, she tried to break the silence. She said, ‘What does your father do for a living?’ “He said, ‘What’s the difference what he does for a living? He’s making money.’ “That’s the way the conversation went. Finally she said, ‘Maybe we should get some drinks?’ “‘You want to buy drinks? What’s the matter, water is no good?’ “She was quite shocked. Finally, the meeting ended, and she came home in tears. What kind of boy did you redt for my daughter?!” The Rosh Yeshivah sighed. “Oh, no. This was my fault!” “What do you mean, your fault?” “This was his first date ever. He came to me and asked, ‘What do I say on a date? I have never talked to a girl before.’ “So I told him, ‘Listen. Go pick her up, and just talk to her the way your father talks to your mother.’ “And that’s what he did!” In the relationship between husband and wife,

there has to be sechel. There has to be a balance. There has to be mutual respect. And the way you express yourself at home is the way your children will learn to express themselves. Your children should grow up knowing that parents can disagree lovingly and respectfully. A difference of opinion doesn’t become a fight, it doesn’t become an issue, it doesn’t lead to anger. And your children will learn that it’s normal. As I said earlier, the key is to know that differences are normal. If you know this, you don’t have to go to people to intercede on your behalf. You don’t have to lie on the couch and relate all your problems. You will not need to solicit all sorts of eitzos and advice. All the advice doesn’t really matter, and is not really necessary, if you know that it’s normal for there to be differences — major differences, minor differences, and different expectations — in all areas of life. If you know and understand this simple idea, you will have a normal life, and shalom bayis will be all that much easier.

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Chuna* was an orphan. He was a solid bachur, a responsible young man,

a person with friends. But Chuna had no money, and no means of financial support. Sure, he had rebbeim who taught him Torah, discussed a Tosafos,

picked apart a Ramban, dissected a Ketzos. But once Chuna stepped out of the

beis medrash, he was on his own. There was no one who worried about his monetary wellbeing.

He made the best of the situation, used his clothing well, took care to treat his belongings with respect. But as careful as a person is to keep his suits and shoes in good condition, the fact is, after wearing a suit every Shabbos for a year and a pair of shoes for eight months, they wear out. And Chuna had no money to purchase anything new. But even that wasn’t really the main issue. That was just the start. The big problem was a by-product of his background and financial situation. You see, because Chuna had no money on which to live, Chuna had no money to date. And because Chuna had no money, Chuna could not get married. So while all his friends at the yeshivah were getting married one after the next, Chuna remained single, because how could he even think about shidduchim when he had no viable way of supporting himself, let alone a wife and family? He was an honest young man, and that was his belief, and so soon enough, Chuna was the only one of his age-group still living in the yeshivah dorm. The situation was unsatisfactory, to say the least, and so the other – younger – bachurim in the dorm held a meeting to come up with ways of helping Chuna. It was decided that all those assembled would join forces to

form a mean, lean, fundraising machine, with the goal of raising sufficient funds to send Chuna and his future kallah off into the sunset. That was the plan.

The committee’s next move was to inform Chuna of their altruistic intentions. Shaya Neiman was the spokesman. They cornered him as he was emerging from the beis medrash one night and corralled him into their headquarters: a room in the dorm. “Listen, Chuna,” Shaya began, “we know how tough things have been.” Chuna nodded. “We also know that you haven’t begun looking for a shidduch because you don’t have the money for basic everyday needs, let alone a wedding or apartment.” Chuna nodded. “So this is what we are going to do.” Chuna waited. “We’ve all decided that we are going to take it upon ourselves to raise enough money for you to get married. We want you to tell the shadchanim that you’re ready continued on page 56



I WILL STAY HERE as long as it takes for Your assistance to arrive.”

for marriage. Go about finding the right one, and leave the financial worries to us. In the meantime, we’ll get out there and raise some capital. How does that sound?” Chuna was touched by their concern and had to admit that it sounded pretty good. After all, what was his alternative? They shook hands, and the deal was struck. That was the plan.

In general, things happen in a fairly predictable manner. Families with large bank accounts are typically suggested to families with similar portfolios, and those with lesser means tend to be matched up with others of the same status. Bottom line: Rockefellers marry other Rockefellers. So, too, as an orphan with no financial support or backing, Chuna was set up with a girl with a similar background, and it wasn’t long before the yeshivah found itself celebrating the engagement of Chuna Eherenfeld and Chedva Ravitz. But although both chassan and kallah were thoroughly caught up in the moment and confident they would be taken care of, the committee hadn’t been able to accomplish what they’d set out to do. The economy in general was not doing well at the time, and the well-meaning group of bachurim found that even with the greatest of intentions, they hadn’t even been able to put a dent in the mountain they were hoping to scale. Sure, they’d provided Chuna with enough funding to get him to the point of engagement. The question of his future, however, remained alive and well. Embarrassing as it was, the committee had come to the realisation that they were not going to be able to raise the kind of money they had promised Chuna to grant him the peace of mind he so sorely needed. Thus, the committee approached Chuna with bowed heads and rueful grins and asked for another meeting to clarify the


arrangement between them. That was the plan.

The committee was filled with acute consternation at their overt failure to deliver. Shaya Neiman in particular was extremely apologetic. “We really tried, Chuna,” he repeated over and over. “People just don’t have the funds... We really thought we could help…” he concluded miserably. Chuna listened silently, his hopes and dreams evaporating like a pot of boiling water. Now what? What was he supposed to do? Walk up and down Rechov Malchei Yisrael with his hand out until he’d collected enough to get married? Even if he did that every day for the next year, he wouldn’t have enough. But what could he do? The committee members had tried; they just hadn’t succeeded. “Thank you for trying to help,” he said. “You did your best, and I appreciate all your efforts. But I learned one thing. I cannot rely on people any longer. From now on, I will rely only on the Ribbono shel Olam; no one else.” The members of the committee slunk shamefacedly out of the “Let’s Help Chuna” headquarters, but Chuna barely noticed. He was formulating a plan of his own.

That Friday found Chuna at the Kosel. He had arrived at a very definite conclusion. People, even those with the greatest of intentions, were still only human, and could no longer be relied upon. Chuna was done with people. From now on, Chuna was through with that. That’s why he’d come to the continued on page 60



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Kosel. He had one plan. To remain at the Kosel until his salvation arrived, in whatever form it was meant to take. Chuna approached the Western Wall at dawn, in reverence and contemplation. He found a Tehillim and a chair and sat down before the ancient stones. When he spoke, it was with deep-seated conviction. “Hashem,” he began,” I am done relying on people. I am an orphan and nobody has been able to help me. I need to get married and have no money to pay for my wedding. I have nothing and nobody other than You. That’s why I am not going to move from here until You show me the way.” Done with his introduction, Chuna opened the Tehillim, turned to the first page and began reciting the beloved words of King David, slowly and methodically, in a clear, lilting voice. “Ashrei ha’ish… ” Many of the people around him listened for a few seconds, smiled and moved on. The minutes passed. It took Chuna about two hours to recite the entire Sefer Tehillim. When he finished all one hundred and fifty chapters, he stopped and looked around. So sure, so confident was he of his salvation that he was genuinely surprised that nothing had changed. He shrugged. It didn’t matter. He wasn’t leaving the Kosel until he’d received some sort of reply. Looking Heavenward, Chuna proceeded to recite his little speech all over again. “Master of the world, You know who I am. You know that I have no resources and nobody to rely upon. You know that my friends in yeshivah tried to help me and came up short. You know that I need a serious infusion of cash to help me begin married life in the right way. That is why I am turning to You, Hashem; I beseech You, come to my rescue. I throw myself upon Your benevolence, and I will stay here as long as it takes for Your assistance to arrive.” So saying, he turned back to his Sefer Tehillim and began anew. The sun was beginning to crest the sky’s trajectory in its relentless quest to travel the world. He could feel its rays on his face, and he shrugged off all outside thoughts from his mind, concentrating on one thing and one thing only. “I rely solely on You, Hashem; nobody else. Only You have the ability to help me and grant me the resources that I need.” The words of Tehillim flowed from his mouth, phrase after phrase, line after line… Slowly, meaningfully and methodically. He was transported away from where he sat, from a world where he possessed nothcontinued on page 62













ing to a golden hall that shimmered with magnificence and beauty. And that’s the way it went until he finished round two. Still nothing. Undaunted, Chuna turned back to the beginning again, though by now the sun had begun its descent and Shabbos was clearly approaching. About to begin reciting his mantra for the third time, he was interrupted by a hand settling firmly on his shoulder. “Reb Yid,” the man said, “it’s almost Shabbos, and I’ve watched you sitting here for hours already. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen anything close to your devotion!” Chuna nodded and turned back to his Tehillim. Your salvation won’t come from man, only from Hashem, he thought, ignoring the man who had come between him and his Tehillim. “What’s wrong?” the man asked. Chuna wasn’t going to talk to the man; he was waiting for a Heavenly reply. But the man was showing genuine concern… Still, he’d made a kabbalah – no looking for help from people; only Hashem. “Look,” he told the man, “I only deal with Hashem. I’m going to talk to Him now. If you want to listen in on our conversation, go right ahead.” “Okay,” said the man, smiling slightly. “Ribbono shel Olam,” Chuna spoke in the general direction of Heaven. “You know how tough it’s been for me ever since my parents passed away. I’ve never complained; always accepted my portion. But now I’m standing on the threshold of real life, about to get married, and I need help. Please Hashem, please, send me some assistance!” He was about to begin reciting Sefer Tehillim for the third time when he felt the man’s hand on his shoulder once more. “Hashem has just answered your prayers,” he said. “In

every way.” Chuna sat there, stunned. “I’m going to buy you everything you need to set up your new life. And more.” “But why?” “I’ll tell you why.” There was a pause, presumably for a minute of reflection. Then a deep sigh. “A short while ago, I was involved in a lawsuit that threatened me with the loss of all my earthly possessions. Fearing the worst, I made a deal with Hashem. I promised Him that were I to win the case, I was going to fly out to Eretz Yisrael, find a worthy chassan and kallah, and pay for their wedding; every last detail. You can imagine the tension of the last few months.” Another sigh… this time, one of deep relief. “A few days ago, the judge ruled in my favour. I was vindicated! Elated, I rushed to fulfil my end of the deal. I booked a ticket to Eretz Yisrael and arrived in the country this morning. After settling in, I made my way to the Kosel, where I studied the people sitting and praying, hoping that Hashem would guide me to the perfect match. And there you were, sitting and praying for hours, singing your Tehillim so beautifully. You said the whole sefer once; then again. It was incredible! I could see that you were feeling every word, that you were pouring your entire neshamah into the Tehillim, and I wondered if you were the person I was seeking. And now I know that you are.” Grabbing the disbelieving Chuna by the hand, the stranger raised him onto his feet and said, “Come, it’s almost Shabbos. Let’s go. You’re coming with me. We’re going to spend Shabbos together, and then I’m going to help you make your dreams come true.” As heard from Harav Avrohom Chaim Feuer

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Nowadays, chassan and kallah teachers are focusing increasingly upon the hashkafos of married life so that young people are currently receiving more guidance in setting up their homes. What are they being taught? We spoke to 4 Rebbetzins from around the country – Suri Cohen (Gateshead), Esther Pearlman (Golders Green), Esty Spitzer (Stamford Hill) and Yocheved Weiss (Manchester), who are involved in guiding today’s generation in building their own homes.

We asked them to share their insights regarding today’s challenges: continued on page 72



111 Mrs Suri Cohen:

THE WAY FORWARD is to realise that every married couple has differences. Every husband and wife can disagree over some matters. Different ideas are perfectly normal. When you know something is normal, you deal with it. It doesn’t mean you are mismatched. Things in life can be done and viewed in different ways, and two people are not always going to want to do things the same way. As long as a couple works on it with understanding and humour it shouldn’t cause stress or aggravation. You may like to save money, and Hashem gave you a spouse who is quick to spend. The Chasam Sofer says, “Why does it upset you? This is Hashem’s gift!” It is Hashem’s will that in this home there should be a combination of middos, a balance in the way things are done, it is something a person has to appreciate. If one knows it is normal, he will not take each disagreement as a personal affront. A couple will try to work things out in a manner that will satisfy each one’s needs, and realise that they are complementing each other’s personalities.




Where two people with differences between them are trying to establish a home together, what would you see as the best way forward in bridging the differences?

Mrs Esty Spitzer:

DIFFERENCES OF OPINION inevitably crop up between husband and wife, as Chazal have said: “K’shem she’ain partzufeihem shavos, kach ain dei’osehem shavos.” When trying to bridge the gap between the differences, one must first listen objectively to the other’s opinion. In order to allow ourselves to be objective, it helps to remember the purpose of the conversation. A wife should realize that her aim is not to win the argument and have her way because after all, if she wins then her husband loses, and no one wants to be married to a loser! Rather, her aim should be to understand, to clarify and ultimately to decide together, on the right thing to do.

Mrs Yocheved Weiss:

WHEN TWO PEOPLE get married with the goal of setting up a bayis ne’eman b’Yisrael, it can be compared to building a physical home. There are different workers, each with their own expertise. For example, a builder may need brute strength to lift heavy beams, whereas an electrician may need fine motor skills to attach minute wires to each other. In order for everything to come together into a perfect structure, the members of the team must work together in harmony and appreciate each other’s strengths and abilities that contribute to the final goal. We must understand that in order to accomplish our ultimate goal of establishing a bayis ne’eman, we must celebrate our differences and appreciate that the Ribbono shel Olam gave each of us our own individual toolbox to help build our home. For example, my husband’s caution in money matters may offset my extreme generosity; his calm and even temperament may offset my volatile, bubbly personality. The approaches of both husband and wife are critical to achieve the requisite balance. Differences are to be celebrated and appreciated, not demon� ised. We must be clear about the fact that to set out to change our spouse is at least futile, and at most destructive. One can only be expected to make inroads if one so chooses himself. There are times, however, that because the energy in the home has changed because of one spouse’s personal effort and growth, it may impact on the other spouse (although this should not be part of the initial agenda). Often, in order to move ahead, one may need to avail oneself of outside intervention; an objective party such as a Rav, Rebbetzin, mashpia or therapist who shares similar values may be able to offer the right haskafah to those differences you cannot make peace with. As a thinker once commented: “If we are irritated by every rub, how will we get polished?

Mrs Esther Pearlman: WHEN TWO PEOPLE from different families, different backgrounds, different upbringings and often different countries get together through marriage, it is an open miracle that such a relationship can and usually does develop and grow into a wonderful mikdash me’at. Open communication is one of the main secrets of working together towards a strong marriage. One cannot know what the thoughts of the person are unless they are expressed clearly. One should not take for granted that the other person knows what one is thinking or feeling. How can they? Men and women are so different in so many ways! That alone needs a tremendous amount of communication to truly understand one and other. Be open and recognise that there are issues that need working on together. If both really want their marriage to work and have the other person’s needs at heart, then talking through every situation will ultimately bring about a working solution. One must be honest and totally trustworthy as well as transparent in all one’s actions and thoughts. Neither husband nor wife should want to keep secrets from each other, because if one’s goal is to be one, then how can one keep a secret from half of oneself? Respect your spouse for what he is and don’t look at what he is not. Never compare your spouse to someone else.

continued on page 74



Mrs Suri Cohen:

TIMES HAVE CHANGED and we are more spoilt than the previous generations and therefore have much less resilience nowadays. We demand more and need more to satisfy us. However, human nature, and the things that made a marriage work (and not work) in our parents’ times, are still relevant today. What I saw in both my parents’ and my in-laws’ homes was mutual respect, loyalty and affection, by the way they spoke to each other, behaved to each other and did things for each other. They also showed appreciation to each other for all things, big and small. These qualities are still applicable today. We can imbue our homes with the same qualities, and if we do, serenity and shalom bayis will permeate our homes as much in today’s generation as in previous ones.

4 2 82


Mrs Esty Spitzer: TIMES HAVE CHANGED, and we cannot turn the clock back to return to the era when our parents and grandparents were starting their homes and families. But we can look back and try to learn from those times to see what we can implement in our lives “binu shnos dor vador.” One feature of days gone by is that wives/mothers focused solely on their homes and families and spent the bulk of their day at home. Today, with many women busy with obligations out of the home, one must still remember that their utmost priority is to be a wife and mother and everything else is secondary. Another key feature and more important one is the emunah peshutah and yiras Hashem with which our parents faced the building of a bayis ne’eman. They had a genuine desire to involve Hakadosh Baruch Hu into their every decision and strive constantly to do that which would be pleasing in the Eyes of Hashem. May we keep on davening for the siyatta diShmaya to carry on in their ways and raise doros yesharim umvorachim.


How can we emulate the marriages of our parents and grandparents in today’s generation?

2 2 Mrs Suri Cohen:

TO BE FLEXIBLE, and to be mevater. You may think, “But I’m right, i n this case I happen to be right.” What does it matter? You can be right – or you can be happy. You can’t always be both. The Torah doesn’t command us to be right – rather to do what’s right. That can be to agree to our spouse’s requests. When we are rigid, not only do we find it difficult to be mevater, but we also get distressed when things don’t go the way we feel they should. When we are flexible, the ride on the road of life will be a much smoother one, even when there are bumps (which are part of the road).




What is the most important character trait to work on when one gets married?

Mrs Esty Spitzer:

WHEN R’ YOCHANAN BEN ZAKAI asked, “Eizehu derech tovah sheyidbak ba ha’adam?” R’ Eliezer ben Horkenus answered, “ayin tovah.” This middah is truly a very important one in building relationships. A kallah/young wife who is looking to see the good in others will focus on her husband’s maalos rather than his chisronos. We all know that nobody is perfect - not our spouses, or ourselves - and yet, when confronted with a chisaron, we might feel upset or disappointed. By focusing on the good in our husbands (and shviggers), it overshadows the chisronos we might see. It also helps us feel fortunate for all the good we do have, thus spreading a good, warm and thankful feeling within us, which will then help us generate happiness to those around us.



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1 Mrs Suri Cohen:

I FEEL THAT ONE of the main challenges facing couples today is the lack of tznius in the way young people openly discuss their spouses and their marriages with their friends, neighbours, etc., in the same way as they would discuss their kitchen or latest recipe - as if it is a separate entity and not their most private relationship. We know that “Ish v’ishah shechinah beineihem – the shechinah dwells amongst husband and wife,” and only the shechinah, but if you invite your friends into your personal life, the shechinah departs. Discussing your spouse is the cause of comparisons, and consequently jealousy and unhappiness. If you avoid such talk, you will be an example to emulate. You will elevate the level of conversation around you and consequently enhance your happiness in your marriage, and others’ happiness too.



the main e r a t a h W young g n i c a f s e challeng s they a y a d o t s couple Jewish a d l i u b o set out t home?



Mrs Esty Spitzer: A BIG CHALLENGE facing young couples today is going against the ruach of our times, which encourages and prides itself in quick or even instant solutions. Photos can be developed in hours, clothing at the dry cleaners can be fetched the “same day,” food can be popped into the microwave for immediate consumption and so on. Relationships, though, cannot be formed instantly. They take time, patience, understanding and perseverance to become meaningful and everlasting. With this knowledge, young couples have to realise that in order to reach the desired results in their relationship and, iy’’H, later in the chinuch of their children, they have to invest steadily and constantly of themselves. The more one puts in and tries to contribute his/her utmost, the more chances one has of seeing results.

Mrs Yocheved Weiss:

SOME CHALLENGES THAT I have come across are over-sharing and technology. One has to be very wary of the over-sharing nature of our generation, where nothing is sacred and everything that comes to one’s mind is deemed appropriate to share with one’s friends and acquaintances. Besides the fact that private matters should be kept private, there is the inherent danger that when one shares the material or emotional blessings that one has, he/she runs the risk of giving rise to envy when the same does not exist in the listener’s life. Hence, even one’s blessings should be reserved for sharing with one’s spouse and respective parents. If one’s private relationship is sacred and guarded, it emphasises the feelings of it being a precious commodity, worthy of protection and care. Consider a large beautiful estate that has at its entrance a sign that says “no trespassing.” That sign reflects the exclusivity of the area, which is accessible to no one but its inhabitants. In our case, the personal domain should remain exclusive to the Ribbono shel Olam, the husband and the wife. There has been much awareness lately of the damage that the Internet has caused to families and homes. Not only from the decadent images available at the click of a button, but also from the hours upon hours of wasted time which people could otherwise have used for developing relationships, doing mitzvos and learning Torah. Even the simple mobile phone, whilst a necessary tool in today’s world, has undermined many a relationship. Couples spending time together are constantly interrupted or feel the urge to text back to an incoming text, thereby diluting the quality of their time together. If we are aware of the danger inherent in the blessings technology has brought us, we will be able to make guidelines to protect us from turning these blessings into a curse.

Mrs Esther Pearlman: THERE ARE THREE PARTNERS in creating a child: father, mother and Hashem. It is essential to understand that Hashem is a major partner in not only creating a child, but in His continued role in every aspect of the family’s development. Tefillah and connection to Hashem is the biggest ingredient in being successful with the sacred and enormous task of setting up and maintaining a Yiddishe home. Bringing Hashem into one’s life, from the tiny things to the big things in life, must not be overlooked. Everyone needs to feel valued in order to be able to fulfil his/her potential. But how does one give those around us a sense of worth and build their self-confidence? I think the greatest task and the best assurance to be able to withstand the challenges of today is to ensure that one’s home is a fortress of simchah. If there is real simchah in the home, those in it will not have the need to look elsewhere for this feel-good factor. Shortly after World War II there was a large emigration to the United States. Many Yidden had great difficulty holding down jobs as they were made to work on Shabbos and hence had to give up their jobs. They were moser nefesh for Shabbos in a great way. However, many of their children assimilated into the American life and left the ways of their parents. Reb Moshe Feinstein was asked how this could happen when these children saw how much it meant to their parents to keep the mitzvos? He replied that they did it with a krechts and not b’simchah. Our challenge is to do the mitzvos with simchah and show by example how wonderful and exciting life can be for Torah-observant Jews.

continued on page 82



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Mrs Esther Pearlman:

OUR PARENTS and grandparents had an entirely different set of challenges than we have today. When driving a car, one needs to look into the rear mirror, but only enough to know what is behind. The main focus must be to look into the front window to see where we are going. By all means, we need to look back, and learn a great deal about where we come from, but only in order to look forward. We tend to use the role modelling of our parents’ parenting skills. These worked best for them. But we must remember that due to our challenges, these skills will not necessarily work for us.

It is interesting to note, that in our generation there has been an explosion of technology and yet, since the use of so many high-tech inventions, standards in many areas have drastically been reduced. Ironically, these suppossed labour-saving devices have in fact made us busier than ever! The antidote to using these advances to our positive use must be TIME. The most precious gift that we can give to our spouses and our family is TIME. When we spend time together, we are giving over the message that you are the most important thing in the world to me. TIME = LOVE. In addition, by spending time together, one will learn to see the positive in the other person that one simply can’t see unless we have experiences together of getting to know each other over a lifetime. Perhaps, previous generations did not seem to be living under the same constant pressures that we do. Hence they had more time to spend with their families.

Mrs Yocheved Weiss: IF WE CAN TRY to emulate the selfless�ness of our parents’ generation, we will hope� fully combat the “MEism” which has seeped in from the outside world. The commitment to one-hundred percent giving with no expectations was a quality that ensured the wholesome, respectful atmosphere that character� ised our parents’ and grandparents’ genera� tion. The other quality that personified the predisposable and pre-instant generation of ours was the level of commitment and of pure hard work. Marriage was a commitment forever – no matter what – and this relationship was going to work (barring a catastrophic condition). It was a non- negotiable commitment despite the hard work that was required - not a contract up for renewal! As we say at the beginning of davening regarding the relationship between the Ribbono shel Olam and Klal Yisrael. “V’eirastich li l’olam - I betroth you unto me forever,” which is the model for the relationship of marriage.

I have often asked the following to people of all ages who are going through difficult relationship situations: “If I could grant you one wish that would help put things right, what would it be?” Invariably, they answer: “that so and so would spend time with me!”



Mrs Yocheved Weiss:

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT character traits to bring into marriage is depicted by the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, zy”a, in his tefilla before davening. In it he states, “Adarabah ten b’libeinu shenir’eh kol echad maalas chaveireinu v’lo chesronam,” which I call “ayin tovah,” using your eyes to see the good in others. All too often, couples get married and immediately have a tendency to zone in on their spouse’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities (i.e. He doesn’t get up on time; she isn’t an adequate balabusta etc). With an ayin tovah – you disregard the supposed failings and you concentrate on the good qualities you find in each other. With a foundation of respect, each partner can blossom, as it fosters good feelings and growth. When a person feels validated as a being worthy of respect, it encourages him/her to work on eradicating the negative middos or behaviour he/she may have and become even more worthy of their spouse’s respect. An example of this is Leah, who married Baruch. Soon after the wedding she realised that Baruch

Mrs Esther Pearlman:

MY FATHER, Z”L, USED TO SAY that if you take the “i” out of “soil” and replace it with a “u,” one gets “soul.” In order not to soil a relationship but rather put kedushah v’taharah into it, one must take the “I” out of the focus and concentrate on the “you”! A recent sem graduate or a yeshiva bachur is naturally still in the state of being a taker. It is a very difficult transition to suddenly be in the position of husband or wife, which essentially requires one to be a giver. One must learn to focus on the other person’s needs, to be interested in his or her interests. Little things in life are very important. But remember, they must be things that the other person would find meaningful, rather than what you would.

was quite simpleminded in his understanding, and his level of learning was minimal; definitely not the deep, learned person she thought she was marrying. She enlisted her ayin tovah and found that she was married to an industrious, ehrliche man with a heart of gold. She chose to concentrate on the virtues she saw, and built him up by showing him respect and admiration. With her support and understanding he prospered in business, organised committees to better the chinuch in their city, and set up a harmonious happy home with children who flourished in an oasis of mutual respect. We are all a combination of chisronos and maalos. When we get married, try our best to invoke our ayin tovah and choose not to focus on our spouse’s deficiencies, and rather concentrate on their wonderful qualities, then we create positive energy in the home that will benefit everyone. The greatest beneficiary of all will be the person who adopts the ayin tovah – demonstrating that they are moving towards their personal shleimus, and in life there is no greater achievement than that.

(For example, if you like baking a seven-layered cake but he doesn’t like eating it, then perhaps think of another treat for him! Or if she does not like to do the driving, perhaps a navigator is the not the best gift for her!) One cannot and should not try to enter a marriage with the intention of changing one’s spouse and altering their middos or behaviour. The only person one can change is oneself! Treat your spouse as king or queen and automatically you will be treated as queen or king. How you treat others is how you will be treated! Give your husband/wife sincere compliments and praise. Give up the right to be right. Be patient and learn to control your anger.

continued on page 78




Mitzvah Tantz A






The Bobover Rebbe, Harav Shlomo Halberstam, zt”l, was once

captured on video as he danced the mitzvah tantz at the wedding of his great-granddaughter. The Rebbe Reb Shlomo was well known as one who stood at the forefront of the rebuilding of Yiddishkeit and Chassidus in America after the war.


In this short film clip, we see him surrounded by only some of the thousands of souls he saved and uplifted. It starts with the chassan being dressed by his father in the white kittel he will wear to the chuppah. The father gently places his son’s arm into the sleeves of the kittel, and years of love clearly pass between them in those moments. The humility and yiras Shamayim of the young chassan are evident as he walks to the chuppah. Every level of emotion is about to be played out in the next few hours of his wedding. Beautiful Yiddishe faces, representing the different stages he’s already passed through in his life until now, surround him. He is escorted to the chuppah to wait for his kallah, his new partner in life. A train of women — the kallah, insulated on either side by her mother and mother-in-law — walk toward the elevated chuppah in perfect modesty. One can clearly tell from the mothers’ faces that they understood what their life’s work was, and that they had done that work with mesirus nefesh, with chinuch whose rewards and punishments were properly weighed and measured. It is visible in their holy, humble nobility. As the kallah steps up, it is as if the platform itself backs up to make room for her. The mothers walk the bride seven times around the chassan, building an invisible but powerful wall around him. The kesubah, where he’s promised, vowed, and committed himself to respect, protect and provide for continued on page 86



“THE REBBE DANCES with grace and love.”


his precious wife, is read out loud. The music stops. Brachos are made. The cup is broken. The whole night there is dancing and ceremony — and then, at the very end — the mitzvah tantz. The Rebbe dances with grace and love. The kallah hardly moves – she sways slightly in a tzanuah style. There’s nothing more beautiful, I think, as I watch the Rebbe’s graceful movements, than giving a person your heart and soul through dance. The Rebbe dances with perfect rhythm, wrapped up in the music – the rhythm of the simchah. The Chassidim sway in perfection with their Rebbe. The Rebbe then brings the chassan to dance along with him. The fear and modesty of the boy is palpable — he’s barely looking at the top of his shoes. The crowd claps in time with the music. Mitzvah tantz (literally, “mitzvah dance”) is the Chassidish custom where the men dance before the bride on the night of the wedding, after the wedding feast. The word “mitzvah” here denotes “custom” because it is not something that is commanded in the Torah. The bride, who usually stands perfectly still at one end of the room, will hold one end of a long sash or a gartel while the one dancing before her holds the other end. There are times when one of the leading Rabbis, often her father or grandfather, will dance with her as well. The custom most likely predates Chassidus, as it is mentioned first in the Machzor Vitri, and also in the Gemara (Kesubos 17a), “Keitsad merakdim lifnei hakallah — How does one dance before the bride?” Most Chassidim have maintained this ancient custom and consider it a great honour to be able to dance in front of the bride to give her honour on her wedding night.



During the mitzvah tantz, the kallah and a few women, usually her relatives and some important Rebbetzins, are brought around next to the men’s section. Unless the wedding is a large one, such as that of a relative of a Rebbe or public figure, most of the guests have usually gone home by the time the mitzvah tantz is ready to start. If there is a large crowd, most of the women will be looking down from a higher women’s gallery. The groom and most of his male relatives take turns rejoicing in front of the new bride at the time of the mitzvah tantz. In the case of the marriage of children or grandchildren of notable Rebbes, it becomes an opportunity for the entire community, followers and admirers of the Rebbe involved to watch and rejoice as the mitzvah tantz takes place. This may go on all night until dawn. By rejoicing in front of a bride and creating an atmosphere of happiness and joy at that moment in the wedding, it is as if one were rejoicing before the shechinah. In addition, a chassan and kallah are considered as king and queen on their marriage day, so by honouring them through dance one is honoring the “queen” and her “king.” Rebbetzin K., who was one of the few Chassidish girls in the area at the time, shared the story of her mitzvah tantz, which took place at the height of World War II in Shanghai. When I first asked the Rebbetzin what she knew about the mitzvah tantz, she answered in her humble way. “Not so much.” “Did you have one?” I asked her. “Yes,” she answered. “So what happened?” I prodded. continued on page 88

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“Well, they’d never seen it before.” “Who?” I asked. “The Litvishers. They didn’t know what it was. I was married on a Friday.” This was the custom among European Jews at the time. The leil Shabbos seudah would be combined to serve as the meal for the wedding as well. “The wedding was divided into two parts: a few hundred attended Shabbos night, and hundreds more over the course of the day.” “Why was the wedding divided?” I asked. “Because there wasn’t enough room,” she answered, and continued. “After watching the mitzvah tantz Shabbos night — everyone was excited because they had never seen one before — the guests ran off to tell everyone to come the next day and see. The next day, you can’t imagine how many hundreds of people were hanging from the windows waiting to see the tantz. She laughs, “And it didn’t happen.” I went back for the intricate details. “Who danced with the kallah?” “My father and grandfather.” I tried to imagine the moment. “Did anyone else dance with you?” I asked. “The Rosh Yeshivah of Mir, and the Mashgiach.” Here her voice cracked for a second. “How did they know how to do it?” I asked. “They saw my father and grandfather dance.”

Could there be any comparison to those times? We can only imagine the heights that were reached. Yet sometimes, we too get the chance to touch those moments. Nurit Bank comes from a well-to-do, secular, Tel Aviv suburb. She discovered Yiddishkeit many years ago,



and is now married and living in yerushalayim with her beautiful family. “We are not actually Chassidish, but because our shadchan and mesader kiddushin was the Biale Rebbe of Switzerland, we were zocheh to have a mitzvah tantz. The mitzvah tantz normally takes place at the end of the chasunah and all the family members participate. But at our wedding, only the Biale Rebbe danced. It was the first mitzvah tantz I had ever seen, let alone participated in, and I had no idea what to do. Was I supposed to put the veil over my face? Was I supposed to look at the Rebbe? “I didn’t cover my face in the end, but I found out later that not all kallos cover their faces. I was holding the gartel, standing in place while everyone around was observing. I could feel the kedushah. “How long did the Rebbe dance with you?” I asked Nurit. “I have no firm estimate,” she replied. “I kept thinking to myself, ‘is he dancing too much? Is he straining himself?’ “There are many secrets to this tantz,” Nurit adds. “Much more than meets the eye. The person dancing with the kallah – they dance the letters yud key vav key. It’s like a rikud with Hakadosh Baruch Hu.” That explained to me why the Rabbanim move at times to the left and at times to the right. They are actually spelling out the name of Hashem.

From the outside, a wedding hall has a door, windows, and steps leading up to it. Sometimes there’s even a mailbox on the side – it looks like a regular place. But inside those doors, something else is going on. Something not of this world – the mitzvah tantz.





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BY NOTA BATLAN SON-IN-LAW: The alarm has gone off for the third time, and it’s not even mine. I hear Shloime, my sixteen-year-old brother-in-law, bounce out of bed, and I catch a peek of my wife’s disapproving eye as I roll over. Half a year ago things were so much simpler, a Shacharis at 9.30 was still fine, before sof zman krias shema, and with enough baalei batim to notice my ten-minute Shemoneh Esrei. And notice they did, which is why I’m now holed up at my new parents-in-laws’ house in my first bein hazmanaim. The ring of the alarm for the fourth time, at 7.10 a.m., coupled with my father-in-law’s foot hitting the downstairs landing, mean that my shut-eye is all but over. FATHER-IN-LAW: The reports of our new chassan were just what we were looking for; fine middos, learns well and davens very nicely apparently. So why is he late? I’ve been waiting downstairs for five minutes already and he still is not down. Even Shloime, my bechor and new yeshivah bachur, is ready, and you can tell he is going to be a stickler for time. He even set his alarm to repeat at ten minute intervals since 6:30 just to ensure he’ll make this Shacharis.



He must have learned this from me; after all, this is what helped make me one of the best foreign bachurim in Chevron in my time. SON-IN-LAW: Okay, it’s eight o’ clock now, and there’s none of my crowd even here yet to share a coffee with outside. My father-in-law is engrossed in his Pitum Haktores so I’ve got another twenty minutes for my lift home. That saying, wasn’t I supposed to be insured on his car? I’ll check with my father how this works. I guess my chavrusa will have to pick me up. FATHER-IN-LAW: So now my new son-inlaw tells me that his chavrusa “can’t make it.” When I was in Chevron there was no such thing as “cannot making it.” Cough or cold we were in the beis medresh at 8:30. Oh, well, it’s not exactly his fault,

continued on page 92



Eli Tamir

Well-known singer Eli Tamir has been singing professionally for more than seven years, since he was only nineteen years old. He has performed at all the United Kingdom’s leading venues, as well as frequently travelling to sing at simchahs in Europe and Eretz Yisrael. Eli told Hamodia that he mainly sings at weddings and bar mitzvahs, but has also enhanced engagement parties and sheva brachos as well as shul and charity events. He also features as a guest chazzan at shuls across the country, often for a special occasion such as a bar mitzvah. For your function, Eli will provide a band of any size, comprised of the highest calibre of musicians, play�ing at an appropriate volume, and all at an affordable and competitive price. “I think nowadays two of the most important issues for people are volume and price. I always try to help people wherever possible with these two issues because I understand their concerns. I planned a wedding, too, you know!” he said. Alternatively, if you have a favourite band, Eli will gladly sing with them –

with his beautiful voice and years of experience guaranteed to make your simchah a night to remember. Eli prides himself on his versatility and is very comfortable singing all types of Jewish music, according to the baal simchah’s preference. His personal favourite? A heimishe wedding. Eli said, “I just love the energy from the dance floor when the guests’ enthusiasm to be mesamei’ach chassan v’kallah rubs off onto the musicians and me, ensuring that we, too, give one-hundred-and-ten percent.” As part of his professional service, Eli will meet with all his clients a few weeks before the event, to discuss their specific musical needs and run through some sample songs with them. This helps ensure that the function runs smoothly on the night, and enables the hosts to relax and enjoy their simchah. As the son of the renowned Moshe Tamir, the family name is one of the most established on the British simchah circuit. Eli’s professionalism, voice and dedication to detail make him an excellent choice for your simchah. And if any further incentive is necessary, Eli is offering a ten-percent discount to Hamodia readers!

although he really should have looked into his chavrusa’s attendance levels before agreeing to learn with him. Anyway, why is he asking me about the cost of insurance on my car? Wait a minute, he is not expecting to drive it? Let his father insure him on his old Toyota, by the looks of it he has no “no-claims bonus” to protect. SHLOIME: Everything is just about my sister and new husband; Daddy and Mummy hardly notice me anymore. I’m in the back seat, physically and figuratively. I can’t see what’s so great about them. My sister is still the same, except with a sheitel, or three, although she has an excuse not to help. Let’s see my brother-in-law’s shtickel Torahs at the Seder and compare them to the ones I’ve prepared. If I get given the time of day. SON-IN-LAW: Finally Friday night. This week was a bit of an eye-opener. So I’m not allowed any sleep because my vigilante father-in-law expects an early wake-up; cannot drive because I have no experience with a “car of this cost,” and it appears that I cannot spend an evening with friends because my mother-in-law thinks a “new husband should not leave his wife.” I suppose Friday night will be better. MOTHER-IN-LAW: So apparently my fish tastes so bad it needs to be dunked in chrayne; the soup although he did his best to hide it - needs three, yes three, helpings of salt; and the main course didn’t deserve a second helping despite the shadchan assuring us that schnitzel ala Holstein was his favourite. Come to think of it, why did we need to know that? He can’t complain about dessert, though, can he? FATHER-IN-LAW: So my whole life, my father, zecher tzaddik livrachah, and his father ,who was a Rav of a kehillah in eastern Poland, I forget the name, can all eat strawberries. But not for my new eidem – due to some remote chashash of some sort. If he was such a tzaddik he would have said a few vertlach instead of letting Shloime interject with his newfound divrei Torah. Although he didn’t have to recite his Mashgiach verbatim; we’re hardly going to stay up leil shishi; we have work to do on Friday. Perhaps my



new eidem would do well to heed his words.

DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: Finally second days and in my in-laws house. Can’t wait to see if it is the bliss all my friends speak about; my parents just didn’t realise that I have a new husband to look after, and I have to look just right for him. A trampy looking wife in a tichel and robe, scrubbing the stove, is not what he should see when he gets back from his chavrusa. My husband’s learning and our shalom bayis come before anything else. MOTHER-IN-LAW: It’ll be nice to see my daughter-in-law. The sales started yesterday morning and except for a mumbled hello last night she has been anonymous. She was a shy girl when she was engaged, but apparently has opened up somewhat. I’ll try to start a conversation if I get to see her today. FATHER-IN-LAW: The prodigal daughter-in-law returns, and with quite a few bags. I’m glad to see her father is donating towards a worthy cause. My son seems happy and his wife, even if a bit absent, at least stays out of the way. She’s speaking with my wife now, it’s good that they should build a rapport. MOTHER-IN-LAW: Go the shopping centre. Really, daughter-in-law, I have nothing better to do before Yom Tov than to gallivant around the shopping centre. I did whichever shopping I needed back in the January sales. I’ll make some excuse to get out of this trip. I could do with some help in the kitchen, a chocolate cake, perhaps a kugel or two. I’ll ask it straight. SON: So at least my eishes chayil and my mother are on speaking terms still. I had to explain to my wife that the reason her dessert was being eaten sparingly was because with it being garnished with the most expensive ingredients in the shop, on my parents’ account, they were not going to finish it that quickly. I think I’ve discovered another reason why we’re allowed to spend time in Eretz Yisrael. Relationships with in-laws are better built away from home.

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We really have to do something about organizing the dancing at weddings. When I went to my sister’s chasunah recently, I spent most of the time either dancing or posing for pictures, and dancing has not gotten any better since all my friends were getting married.


There’s a lot of dancing to be done at weddings, but not a lot of moves. First there’s a huge amount of backward dancing, where the entire crowd claps and bounces up and down and surges blindly backward, stepping on toes, running into chairs, fake trees, walls, grandparents, etc. We dance the chosson into the bedekin, and then we dance him right back out of there, and then we dance him and the kallah back up the aisle after the chuppah. That’s a lot of backward dancing. I suspect that some of these people get into their cars after the wedding and turn on the music and back their cars all the way home. But it’s not all backward dancing. Once the chosson and kallah are introduced “for the very first time”, not including the after-chuppah picture fiesta, we have crowded dancing. No matter how many people there are at the wedding, and no



continued on page 100


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matter if the dance floor is the size of Milwaukee, the general minhag seems to be that all dancing should take place on an area that is no larger than three feet by three feet. As the dancing goes on, more people keep joining the circle, but it somehow doesn’t get any bigger. No one spreads out to accommodate for anything, so you eventually end up squashed between the guy behind you, who is holding your hand in a way that it is awkwardly twisted behind your back, and the guy in front of you, whose back is completely drenched despite the fact that dancing just started thirty seconds ago. How did he get so wet so fast? Was there some kind of accident at the washing station? So usually you wind up with a slow moving, densely packed circle, in which not everyone’s feet are even necessarily touching the floor, but no one wants to spread out or start a new outer circle, because that would violate the three-feet minhag. So instead, they try to make a new circle within the outer circle. They figure that this way, there is more of a chance that they will be seen by the chosson, who will then dance with them for twenty seconds, and then they can go stand off to the side somewhere with their ginger ale and wait for the next dance to begin. But then the people in the outer circle decide that the people on the inner circle

“HOW DID HE get wet so fast? Was there some kind of accident at the washing station?”



seem to be having more fun, or at least they’re moving faster. Plus, they don’t like that everyone in their circle is constantly bumping into the photographer’s stepladder, and they’re afraid that any minute he’s going to fall on somebody. (He won’t, by the way. Wedding photographers have great balance. They do this every night. Have you ever seen a wedding photographer walking across the top of a mechitzah?) So about two thirds of the outer circle, at the same time, leaves the outer circle and attempts to merge with the inner circle, until the inner circle has more people in it than the outer circle does, and the outer circle snaps. I am routinely on the outer circle when this happens, and I suddenly find myself with no one in front of me, dragging a trail of people behind me by the hand. I hate being the front guy. Where should I take them? Should I try to go around the stepladder instead of through it? And then all of a sudden, it’s just me and like two other guys, holding hands and dancing around the inner circle, which by now has expanded to contain yet another circle. Then I go sit down for a while. But at least it’s better than being the front of a train. I am referring here to the dance wherein everyone grabs onto each other’s shoulders and races around the room,

weaving in and out of tables, straight through the dancing circle, out onto the street, etc. (I usually end up behind the guy with the wet back again.) But if you’re on the front of a train, everyone follows you. That’s a lot of pressure. You can’t even shake them off, because they’ll think that’s part of the dance. “Ok, everyone shake; he’s shaking!” You go out to make a phone call, and there they all are, blindly following you. One Simchas Torah when I was a kid, I found myself on a train that took us to a completely different shul. They had great candy there. But I have no idea how to get back there. The second dance at weddings is generally a little less crowded, because by then everyone with a babysitter has gone home. So at that point everyone usually dances the Hora, which has real dance steps, which are three steps forward, one step back. (It’s kind of like marriage, in a way.) The dance seems pretty simple, but there are always a few people who are one step behind the entire time, still going back when everyone else is trying to go forward, and they’re totally oblivious. They don’t even notice that they’re off. Also, there’s always one overenthusiastic father who brings his three-year-old into the circle, and the poor kid keeps tripping over his own feet and jerked back and

forth like a rag doll, and everyone else is afraid of stepping on him. For the Hora, the band plays either “Asher Bara” (the Piamenta one – It would be very hard to dance the Hora to the Miami one) or else they play “Ben Bag Bag”. Those are the only two Hora songs they play. You can go over and request another song, and they’ll say, “Yeah, we know that one!” And then they’ll play “Ben Bag Bag” again. Which is unfortunate, because no one knows the words. Also, depending on the family’s minhag, at some point either the chosson or the chosson and kallah sit down in the middle of the circle, probably to wonder if marriage is always this tiring, and some guys with a complete lack of stage fright go into the middle of the circle to dance in front of them, or to maybe do some things that technically are not considered dancing, such as eating flowers and lighting themselves on fire. And there’s always some guy who has to jump rope, using a string of handkerchiefs that he spent the entire seudah tying together so that no one within a five-table radius had anything to wipe their faces on. I have no idea what the women are doing in the meantime. At the end of my sister’s chasunah I cut through the women’s section to find a bunch of tiny round pieces of


continued on page 103


Kinloss Banqueting & Events




Kinloss was always known as a generously sized and conveniently located function hall. But the recent major refurbishment carried out to the facilities there have now established it firmly as the premier kosher venue outside Central London. Situated at the hub of North-West London’s Jewish community, Kinloss offers a whole host of versatile spaces refurbished to the highest quality – all the convenience of a local venue, including unlimited parking, with the sophistication of the West End.


The versatile space offerings at Kinloss are what makes it unique and the ideal venue for any event - whether an intimate lunch, a conference, exhibition, reception for thirty or for a thousand, or a seated function for over four hundred people. Talking of the space on offer, Rebecca Aminoff, banqueting and events manager, explains: “It’s the opportunity to mix and match different rooms, at competitive package prices, that seems so attractive to our clients. One of our most popular packages is for weddings where clients use the Deal Halls for a ceremony under London’s first-ever indoor/ outdoor chuppah, a reception in any of our halls, and then dinner and dancing in the magnificent Kinloss Suite.” But the options don’t end there. Some clients prefer the formality of the magnificent synagogue for their chuppah, whilst others do still wish to have the chuppah outside.


The attraction of a building with so many options is clearly reflected in the range of events held at Kinloss in the last few years. From weddings and bar mitzvahs, engage-



ment parties and bris milahs, to Israel Expos, art events, and three-day charity conferences making extensive use of the various breakout rooms, the choice is endless. And added extras include, of course, the beautiful Bridal Suite and a large passenger lift providing easy access to the whole building for the elderly and infirm. Creating a Unique Atmosphere When planning the refurbishment, the management was keen to design elegant but simple facilities that enable clients to create their own unique and perfect atmosphere. This again, says Rebecca, is so attractive to clients. “The simple, clean decor allows them to dress the rooms as they wish, without being compromised by fixed lighting systems and colour schemes.” Of course, Kinloss does still provide, at no extra cost, the sort of things you would expect from a modern facility - mood lighting, pin spots, sound system, and Wi-Fi. And it is that same flexibility, coupled with an attentive and responsive team at Kinloss, that is so liked by event planners and all the leading kosher caterers –judging by the plaudits they give. For more information: To make an enquiry call Rebecca Aminoff at (020) 8349-5268 or e-mail


Fruit Creations


It’s not just about the way Fruit Creations arranges fruit, bridge rolls and savoury goodies in a kaleidoscope of art and colour. It’s the fact that it’s a form of gift-giving in both a practical and generous way. There are no disappointing surprises behind shiny wrapping paper. The platter can be served to guests as is; and it offers nutritious, tasty and guilt-free delectables which everyone will revisit for seconds. And if you’re ordering for your own simchah or business – bar/bas mitzvah, shalom zachar, kiddush, sweet table, business conference – make it a hassle-free function by taking advantage of Fruit Creation’s delivery service and ready-toserve, presentable containers. As its name suggests, Fruit Creations offers a range of creative platters and dishes to tempt even the fussiest palette.


tasty spreads and garnished with veggie bits. • Two-tone sandwich platters – square or pinwheel shaped - topped with smoked salmon and a dollop of cream. Fancy Extras • Mouthwatering vegetable salads of your choice, served in presentable bowls. • Fancy fish platters, surrounded by a generous garden of garnished veggies. • Artistic watermelon carvings in which you can have your personalised logo, monogram or name etched, or just shaped as an edible basket to hold your fruit salads.

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paper on the floor. Do they throw confetti at each other? Was there a hole-punching party? Also, sometimes after a wedding I see the kallah’s friends walking around with some spectacularly random items, such as a six-foot teddy bear, or a bunch of picket signs. What were they protesting? Taxidermy? My wife, however, assures me that there is plenty of pushing and fumbling of dance moves on the women’s side also.

So something definitely has to be done about this. Not at the actual weddings, though. No one can hear you over the music anyway. But maybe someone should write some kind of column about it, using ideas he jotted down on the back of his place card, in the hopes of raising awareness. I’m not talking about me, of course. I’m talking about someone else. I have to do something about all of these guys hanging off the back of my shoulders.

• Sliced fruit, simple and exotic, arranged in curved, symmetrical patterns. • Cubed chunks of fruit served on kebab sticks. • Rich, vibrant salads made of all things fruit. • Exclusive arrangements of chocolate truffles and flower shaped dried fruits – new for Tu B’shvat

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Mazal tov! You’ve broken the plate and made the l’chaim; now the planning can begin. But where are the young couple going to live? If you’ve made a shidduch with a family from outside the EU, it’s not just a question of where the chassan is learning, or whether the kallah would like to be near her mother, there are questions of visas involved. Hamodia spoke to Mr. Michoel Posen of Agudas Yisroel, an expert in this field. Mr. Posen explained that from July 9, 2012, the immigration laws were tightened regarding family visas. However, anyone who was already in the process of applying for a visa before that date, even if they were right at the beginning of the process, will still be dealt with under the old regulations.



The standard for the knowledge of English language was raised. This applies to citizens of non-EU countries, which are not English speaking, such as Israel, but not to places like the United States, New Zealand or South Africa. Everyone, regardless of whether they are a native English speaker, has to take a test at the end of their visa application process, before they are given permanent leave to remain, on their knowledge of life in the United Kingdom.






WHAT IS BRITISH CITIZENSHIP? British citizenship is one of the six different forms of British nationality. Some of these were defined in the British Nationality Act 1981, which came into force on Jan. 1, 1983. The laws defining how citizenship can be obtained changed on that date. WHY DO I NEED IT? Only British citizens, and certain British subjects with right of abode through qualifying connections under the Immigration Act 1971, have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom. People holding one of the other forms of nationality may live and work in the United Kingdom if their immigration status allows it. HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE IT? If you have a British passport – you have British citizenship. If you were born in the United Kingdom before Jan. 1, 1983, you are almost certainly a British citizen. If you were born in the United Kingdom on or after Jan. 1, 1983, you are a British citizen if, at the time of your birth, one of your parents was a British citizen or legally settled in the United Kingdom. If you were born in the United Kingdom on or after

Jan. 1, 1983, but before Oct. 2, 2000, you are a British citizen if, at the time of your birth, either of your parents was an EEA citizen (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) exercising Treaty rights under EC law. WHAT IF I WAS BORN ABROAD? If you were born abroad before Jan. 1, 1983, you became a British citizen if, immediately before that date, you were a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and had the right of abode in the United Kingdom. You might have had that citizenship, either from a father who had it, or because you were registered or naturalized as a citizen. If you were born abroad after Jan. 1, 1983, your citizenship depends on that of your parents. British citizenship descends to only one generation born abroad. In other words, if one of your parents is British, you can be British, even if you were born abroad. However, this citizenship does not pass on to your children. CAN I HAVE DUAL NATIONALITY? Yes, many countries, including the UK, allow you to become a citizen and still retain a previous nationality – resulting in dual nationality. The laws are quite complex and vary from country to country. If you are travelling to a country where you previously held citizenship and are not sure about your status, you should check with the consulate in the United Kingdom before you travel. Under international law, the British authorities cannot give a person diplomatic help in a country of which they are a national.


The probationary period for a residence visa has increased from two years to five years. This five-year period is divided into a two-stage process, with a first visa issued for two-and-a-half years, after which another application must be made. At the end of the second two-and-a-half years, if the candidate still fulfils all the conditions, they are given indefinite leave to remain.

Mr. Posen pointed out that there are exceptions to the financial requirement if the spouse with U.K. citizenship is disabled and receives a disability benefit or is the continued on page 106


The amount of money for the financial requirement was raised. A couple must be able to show that they are earning at least £18,600 a year, and that they have been doing so for the last six – twelve months, depending on circumstances. This has to be secure income which will continue. The amount is increased by £2,500 a year for every non-British child.


‘GENERALLY, IT IS better to apply for a visa after the chuppah’ carer of a person who receives disability living allowance (DLA) or attendance allowance, and thus receives carer’s allowance. In either of these cases, a lower financial requirement would apply.



Q: My son has UK citizenship. He lives in Eretz

Yisrael with his Israeli wife. Can they visit for yomtov?


Yes that’s no problem, they can come for a visit – your daughter in law will come in to the UK on a six month tourist visa, which she receives when she enters. Make sure they can show their return tickets to the immigration officer and some money with them for their stay.

Q: Can my son pass his UK citizenship on to my

grandchildren, who are born in Eretz Yisrael?

In general, Mr. Posen advised that it is better to apply for a visa after the chuppah, to avoid issues with timing. It is perfectly legal to enter the country as a visitor and then get married. All visitors from non-EU countries are given a six-month visa on arrival. However, if you leave the country during these six months, even to travel elsewhere in the EU, the visa is nullified and you might have problems returning to the United Kingdom. Although visitors from the United States and Eretz Yisrael do not need a visa to enter the country, travellers with South African citizenship or from some South American countries do – much better to check before travelling, than arrive in the United Kingdom and discover there’s a problem! Mr. Posen’s advice to all visitors was to make sure you know where you are staying and have some idea of what you are planning to do during your stay, whether it is sightseeing (in which case you should know the names of some sights), attending a simchah (have an invitation to hand) or just visiting family. Ensure you have access to adequate funds for your stay – bring some sterling with you and have a credit card to hand. Mr. Posen stressed that most visitors to the United Kingdom have nothing to worry about from the immigration authorities - they are coming on a legal visit. He said that a visitor who appears confident and well prepared will generally have no continued on page 109




If your son is a citizen in his own right, then yes he can pass it on. If you are a British citizen, but he is only a citizen by descent, (because of your citizenship) and was not born here, then, no. British citizenship is only passed on for one generation to people born abroad.


How does my American son in law apply for a long term visa to live in the UK? What about my Israeli daughter in law?


They need to apply from out of the country, but only in the country in which they “live”. They will have to fulfil the criteria applicable at the time of their application regarding income. Your Israeli daughter in law will have to take an English language test, too. If they receive a visa, it will be valid for 2 ½ years, and then they will have to re-apply here in the UK. After five years, if they still fulfil the criteria, they will be given permanent leave to remain.

Q: What about my French son in law? A: As an EU citizen, he does not need a visa at

all, but can live and work in the UK freely.

The Grapevine



0208 806 4852 S. Hoffman | Hamodia

Let’s raise our glasses to a wine store that has truly surpassed expectations since its opening six years ago, earning itself a passionate customer base that returns for more, again and again…And it’s not just what you’re hearing through the grapevine! Indeed, Grapevine stocks the largest selection of kosher wines and spirits in the UK, boasting a supreme internationally imported variety with an unbeatable price range, so that anyone can indulge in a hearty l’chaim. They also offer hundreds of exquisite wine and chocolate arrangements to suit every occasion and budget.  Grapevine’s comprehensive range of wines is sourced from vineyards worldwide, including Australia, California, Israel and New Zealand. A browse in-store reveals a breathtaking collection of over 500 single-malt whiskeys, among them a delightful array of miniatures as well as 30 different magnum and double magnum bottles, with price tags starting from £18 and topping the £16,000, really leaving customers simply spoilt for choice. And if this weren’t enough to tempt every kind of palette, the high-class collection is constantly expanding to fill the ever-growing demand.  An attractive supermarket price-match service is offered on the entire wine and whiskey range, so customers can be assured they are getting great value purchases all year round. Grapevine also offers the convenience of straightforward returns on any unopened products, giving baalei simcha the confidence and peace of mind to stock up plentifully on beverages.  If you’re looking to take your simcha to the next level, reserve the elegant cocktail bar package and enhance the event with Grapevine’s exciting assortment, along with a professional cocktail waiter.  Drop in to the Hendon or Stamford Hill branch for a cosy browse along the immaculately-maintained, bespoke wine-filled cabinetry and, if there’s a label that tempts you, why not tickle your taste buds with a complimentary tasting, so that you only take home what you like best.  Don’t hesitate. Just ask. Grapevine stores employ helpful, courteous staff who are always happy to help you and advise you in any way, so that choosing a drink becomes an experience to savour.  Or, for an effortless shopping experience visit, where you can also view and purchase the arrangements. Whichever method you choose, leave the work to Grapevine and have your goods delivered on the day, direct to the venue you require.  L’chaim to all, from Grapevine!

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problems. In the event that something does go wrong, his advice was to be completely upfront with the authorities and contact someone in the United Kingdom to assist you as soon as possible. If a person is refused entry at immigration, for example because their visa has not come through yet, Mr. Posen’s advice is not to panic. This does not mean that they will never be able to enter the country. They are simply being sent back until their documentation comes through – it is a delay, not an outright refusal. Again, Mr. Posen’s advice is to be upfront with the immigration officer. Sometimes they will be lenient and allow the person to enter for a shorter period of time, although technically they have been detained. This happened some time ago with a chassan, coming for his wedding, who was refused entry into the United Kingdom. After much hishtadlus, including the involvement of the local Rabbi, he was allowed into the country for ten days, which was enough time for the chasunah and sheva brachos to take place, before he had to leave. Another area in which the immigration laws have

tightened up recently is the following scenario. An EU citizen is automatically allowed to both live and work in the United Kingdom, and to bring in family members. However, a British citizen cannot necessarily do so, particularly in the case of a so-called Elderly Dependent Relative. Until now, a person with joint U.K. and EU citizenship was allowed to use their EU citizenship to bring in their relatives. However, the law has now changed, and they can no longer do this. This has resulted in the paradoxical situation that a French or Polish person, who has, say, an elderly mother living in France or Poland, can arrange for their mother to come and live with them, whereas a British citizen whose elderly mother is not British, and lives in France or Poland, must stay there. However, on a brighter note, the controversial law automatically refusing a resident’s visa to the non-EU spouse in a marriage if either of the partners was under 21, has now been repealed. This, at least, has taken one area of concern away from international shidduchim.

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What started out as a brachah from Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, to Moshe Davis that he should be mesamei’ach chassan v’kallah, which he did by graciously chauffeuring them to the chuppah in his luxurious white car, and developed into “but Moshe, can you just do this” and “Moshe, can you just do that,” resulted in a full-fledged simchah management career, M&C Events, with an average uninterrupted 18-hour stretch of duty on the big day. With 3,000-plus weddings behind him, ranging from Rebbishe courts to Anglo-Jewish crowds, Moshe has a wealth of exciting anecdotes about his two decades on the job, and they are certainly enough to fill a book. I was therefore not surprised when he revealed that there is actually a manuscript underway! But until that reaches the bookstores, here are some of the expert’s secrets for a simchah’s success.

Pointers FROM THE PRO An Interview With Moshe Davis of M&C Events






When Moshe Davis’ new mechutan called him after their children’s recent engagement, and addressed him as “mechutan,” Moshe nearly hung up on him. “Mechutan?!” Moshe asked, totally offended but with his characteristic good cheer. “You are no way going to call me ‘mechutan’!” Having coordinated weddings for some 6,000 mechutanim, Moshe is bothered by the formality associated with the title “mechutan.” When things are impersonal and detached, there is a chance that the relationship between the two sides will go sour. Mechutanim have to be open and straight forward with each other, working as a team, as partners who can negotiate amicably, so that no issues find their way in. He therefore adamantly refers to his mechutanim as “family” and wants them to address him, and treat him, as nothing less. In a sentence, Moshe describes his job as “taking the strain off the baalei simchah so that they can enjoy the moment with all worries taken care of.” Here are the main issues which Moshe feels should enlighten baalei simchah and smoothen the simchah-making process.


Guests do not realise how they can spoil a simchah by not conforming to the timing, but Moshe identifies that this is usually only a problem at some weddings. “Guests roll in at 9.30 when the dinner was called for 8, and then they find complaints,” he protests. The starters have been cleared (“where is my starter?”), and the soup is cold (“why is the food cold?”) – moans which unnerve him because the caterer has done an outstanding job, at a costly price for the baal simchah, but it was ruined by uncooperative guests. Furthermore, latecomers then cause dancing time to be cut to accommodate for speakers, main course and, of course, the mitzvah tantz. There was the kallah – at a particularly lavish wedding - who refused to enter the hall without the classic entrance of white arches, but her friends were not yet there to give her that pleasure. Moshe recalls the father’s spot-on response, “I have spent almost £75,000 on this wedding, and because of some petty arches you’re going to spoil things. Come in now!” In the end, Moshe grabbed a “confetti bomb” from his car instead… The friends probably had no inkling of the stress they had caused a kallah.

This late-coming issue proves even more challenging at simchas nissuin – weddings subsidised by the kehillah – for which the midnight finishing time is one of their strict conditions and everything has to be squeezed in. When timing goes out of schedule by just half an hour, the chassan and kallah are left with only five-to-10-minute dancings. Then there are the baalei simchah for whom timing and meticulousness is a very important aspect. He shares a scenario of one such baal simchah who worried that he might run late so he urged Moshe in advance, “Schlep mich by der oyer!” (drag me by the ear). But Moshe prepared him that the eidim- witnesses might not be there yet to sign the kesubah. “So worst comes to worst, you’ll sign, or even the photographer, but I will be on time!” he exclaimed. Indeed, some of the chassan’s uncles turned up after the chuppah, convinced that they were early. They were horrified to hear otherwise, “What?! Our brother didn’t wait for us?!” One of Moshe’s typical duties includes shooing the guests to their seats after dancing. “At these kind of weddings,” he says, “it’s a cinch. Ten seconds after the music has quietened down, there is not a person to be seen on the dance floor!” On this note, he praises those who show mentschlichkeit by remaining silent during drashos, with an exaggerated, “ah, it’s a mechayeh!” So, as with every job, Moshe has his likes and dislikes. While he absolutely loves his job, saying it’s the adrenalin that keeps him on his toes 18 hours at a shot, he is faced with different hurdles at each event which could easily be solved with a little awareness and consideration.


Baalei simchah have to know where they stand financially so that they are not left in debt after a simchah. “Make a simchah that you can afford, not what your friend can afford,” Moshe advises. On a positive note, when asked how local simchahs have changed since he first started his management position, Moshe chose this point as an encouragingly shifting trend. He is glad to have observed that nowadays families are less concerned about impressing others, sticking instead to what their individual budget allows. continued on page 114



‘MOSHE GIVES HIS clients a questionnaire to run through before the wedding, with 160 questions no less!’ Still and all, even if one has spent cautiously and within ones means, the following incident shows how one can never be sure what nisyonos Hashem may send our way, and it is out of our hands. A foreign mechutan approached his local mechutan at the chuppah, sharing the misfortune that something went awry in his business and he had become completely penniless overnight, leaving him with literally nothing to contribute. Seeking his advice, the mechutanim entrusted Moshe with the grave secret, and Moshe urged them to pretend as if nothing and to let the wedding continue, while he quickly called his wife telling her to get hold of a few thousand pounds for that night, a feat she has learnt proficiently on the job. Later in the night, the badchan related a joke about a mechutan rejecting his obligation to pay toward wedding expenses, completely unaware that he was touching a sensitive point. In his front-row seat, the mechutan directed a sharp gaze toward Moshe, seething that he must have shared his financial situation with the badchan. Of course, due to the secrecy surrounding the state of affairs, the badchan actually had no clue about what was going on and Moshe had to beg the mechutan not to make a scene, and just to laugh along with the joke! In general, keep the expenses within reason.


Moshe is bothered by the fact that baalei simchah think they have to bring over international services from abroad, when there is such a wealth of excellent services locally. To quote his figures there are 21 musicians, four



florists, 12 photographers, six videographers, and 20 caterers under Kedassia alone! He understands baalei simchah’s claim that they are doing it because services abroad are cheaper, but it is not necessarily true. After all expenses paid – travel, lodging and costly equipment rental - and considering that a foreigner can’t be acquainted with a community’s style and taste as well as a local professional, bringing over does not get you the better end of the deal. In the expert’s opinion, it is not advisable to bring over services from abroad considering the convenience aspect on which you will lose out.


There is no better way to prepare than to use someone who is not affiliated or emotionally involved with the simchah, so that they can ensure that everything is under control, from an outsider’s view. Just to prove how much is involved, Moshe gives his clients a questionnaire to run through and tick off before the wedding with 160 questions no less! And on the day his job includes dozens of seemingly trivial duties like calling the sheitel macher a half hour before she has to be there; having pins at hand for the deck tichel; having the plate/glass ready for breaking (so you don’t need to wheedle one from the caterer!); and, most importantly, keeping the timing on schedule. Picture this: an unexpected guest shows up and they need a seat and place setting; Moshe Davis grabs continued on page 116

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him away from the baal simchah, deals with it himself, and in that time, the baal simchah has received a line of well-wishers graciously and with as smiling a composure as he could muster. After two decades on the job, Moshe is prepared for the worst-possible scenario, equipped with everything from stockings in several deniers and anti-static spray to portable floodlights and a handful of spare kiddushin rings. (Oh how many rings are discovered missing under the chuppah, apparently sitting in the hall’s garbage, along with the crumpled tissue that the chassan’s father had mistakenly discarded!) Moshe quips, “My car sells me!” In fact, Moshe is so confident that his car kit would solve any emergency that when asked if he could have handled a wedding during Hurricane Sandy, he laughs the question off with a curt, “Puh!? Easy!” Moshe didn’t have all this knowhow from the start. One memorable experience demonstrated to him just how thoroughly prepared one has to be, down to giving all the suppliers a reminder on the wedding day. He arrived at a wedding in Heathrow Hotel, gave the hall a quick glance over and everything looked just beautiful. However, he felt something was amiss but he could not put his finger on it… until his eyes fell upon the huge empty stage – the band was not there! He called the musician who confirmed, “Course I’m here; find me backstage - I’m preparing!” A frantic search and 10 minutes later, it was discovered that the band had confused the location and set themselves up in the Decorium instead – the

predominantly shtreimel-wearing crowd taking them by surprise for they were supposed to be performing for a Yekkishe simchah! It would have taken some time for them to switch over so Moshe called on a Golders Green substitute to make his way to the Heathrow in record time to play the sensational chassan-kallah entrance song – as mentioned earlier, the entrance at this yekkishe wedding would have been no later than 7.45, as promised on the invitation. The correct band then arrived to take over. But that was enough to give Moshe the new task of a dozen phone calls to be made on the wedding day, even to main suppliers like the caterer and florist. One should never need to call on Moshe’s vast experience for a misfortune, but Moshe has had that too, most of which he could not disclose. One baal simchah was rushed to hospital during the dinner where he underwent a triple bypass surgery – all to the family’s oblivion. They were informed that their husband/father was unwell and resting upstairs. It was Moshe’s swift intuition that something was seriously wrong when he asked him if the soup was off and then mentioned that he had pain in his arm. It was Moshe’s discrete arrangement with ordering Hatzolah to come to a back entrance, and having waiters guard the area, which kept the news from disturbing the joyous atmosphere. Baruch Hashem, Moshe has since seen this man dancing on his feet in good health, until 120! How would all these scenarios have been solved without a “Moshe Davis” on site?!

‘WHILE HE ABSOLUTELY loves his job, he is faced with different hurdles at each event...”




INWith TUNE His CLIENTS Beneath the smiling demeanour of singer Shloime Gertner is a serious personality who carries no airs from his celebrity status. In this interview with Hamodia, he brushes off the excitement associated with being stopped by people who recognise his face from album covers or live performances. In his unassuming manner, he focuses instead on the depth of music and how it impacts people’s lives.






HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR TALENT? As kids, on Shabbos my father would assign a different zemer for each of us to perform solo, which was how I first discovered my voice. Then, as a keen Aguda camper, I was often a choir soloist. Fortunately, those recordings found their way to the right people who then introduced me to the world of the music studio.

WHICH SONG WOULD YOU SAY WAS YOUR CLAIM TO FAME? Every circle, every age, finds their soft spot in a different song. I think the “Shabbos Hamalkah” was a hit song, which, judging from the feedback, left a deep mark on many. I had someone share with me that his mechutanim were not frum, and he sent them the CD as a gift. When the words of “Kodesh hi lachem” emanated from the speakers in their home, it filled the room with emotion, keeping them transfixed. It gave them a longing to maintain that ambience and spirituality, and that song was the spark that started them on the road of teshuvah. Amazingly, they are shomer Shabbos today.

“EVERY CIRCLE, every age, finds their soft spot in a different song.”

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO KNOW THAT YOUR MUSIC IS WORLD FAMOUS? In the music industry, the reputation is good purely for the parnassah aspect. However, far greater than the thrill of fame, is the major responsibility that goes together with providing music to the Jewish world. Now, at a time when no one is restricted from hearing a song composed across the world, and technology allows for Yidden all over to enjoy a new, warm niggun, I try to ensure that my listeners will grasp a song the way I had intended; to inspire and be mechazek. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE INTERESTING LIVE EVENTS YOU HAVE PERFORMED AT? I prefer not to share these experiences, because I don’t particularly view them as achievements, and the Gemara says that continued on page 120



one merits brachah and hatzlachah when something is hidden from the public eye. To that end, I often wonder how I am supposed to balance a low profile with my singing career which, on the contrary, is about selling my wares as much as possible. I figured that the way I would do it is to make sure that it’s the music getting out to the world and not the name. You know how they say about a great person, “his name precedes him” – I aim for the opposite. WHAT THEN WOULD YOU DESCRIBE AS A SINGING ACHIEVEMENT? For me, to have merited singing before my Rebbe, the revered Yeshuas Moshe, zt”l, of Vizhnitz, during a private moment with him as he read through my kvittel, was a humbling encounter. I sang songs from the Rebbe’s tisch as well as “Keili Atah,” “Aneini,” etc., all while watching him engrossed. To me that was a moment I would have loved to wrap up and preserve! I experience a similar sense of awe when I stand under the stars and sing before a chassan and kallah at the chuppah. It’s a surreal experience, being part of a new beginning, a new bayis. Otherwise, a lot of my memorable work is through volunteering. I

“TO HAVE MERITED singing before my Rebbe, the Yeshuas Moshe zt”l of Vishnitz was a humbling encounter”



particularly enjoy singing to the elderly at nursing homes. Hearing the gratitude in their parting comments like “Thanks to you I will be able to sleep tonight!” makes me feel so fortunate to have the talent to uplift them. I come out feeling that I couldn’t have possibly used my time any more constructively than I did in that half hour. On that note, I once accompanied a group to form a minyan on Purim for a Yid in prison who hadn’t davened with a minyan for a year. He literally grabbed the opportunity to answer each Kaddish as if it fell from Above. He was overwhelmed, asking us to learn another halachah, and then another, so that he would be able to say amen to Kaddish again. He thanked us emotionally, reiterating “Oy, a Kaddish. For a year I haven’t heard a Kaddish… ” and it suddenly hit me how we take this tefillah lightly, sometimes even leaving shul early before hearing the last Kaddish. SO YOU’VE REALLY SEEN MUSIC IMPACT PEOPLE’S LIVES. Music has a koach. An elderly, chashuve Rav once approached me while singing at a wedding, asking me to daven for someone. I was surprised – how can I po’el something whilst singing? But he enlightened me that singing can take a person to great heights. It matters not if it’s a slow or fast tune; it’s the emotion that it arouses. WHAT DO YOU SEE FROM YOUR VANTAGE POINT ON STAGE? It’s interesting. For each chasunah I have to throw myself into the family’s simchah – it’s their big day and I have to take part in it as if they were my own family. I start singing and slowly the dance floor becomes like a mirror – the tune and tempo oozing joy into the crowd. And then, the elderly zeide or a Rav is pulled into the center and everyone encircles him passionately, hands linked, to create an awesome, timeless scene. The flowers, the food, it all contributes to the beautiful atmosphere - but at the end of the day it’s the music which truly infuses the hall with the ruach, and it’s a task I have to achieve faultlessly.

continued on page 122

The perfect venue for your special day

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THERE’S ALSO THE DOWNSIDE OF THESE ADVANCEMENTS; THAT PEOPLE ARE COPYING MUSIC FROM FRIENDS AT A LOSS TO THE SINGER? Yes, and I certainly prefer people buying my album than copying it, but it’s something I can’t control. But then, at least someone’s interested enough to copy it; there are songs that don’t gain interest at all and gather dust on the shelves begging to be heard. ARE YOU INVOLVED IN THE “QUIET MUSIC CAMPAIGN”? I like to respect my individual client’s wishes. Quieter music is more pleasant to the ear. On a general note, music should be on a wave, constantly changing decibels. How effectively the sound is distributed



depends largely on the amplifiers being used; you can have loud music which can easily be “spoken over,” and is pleasant sounding due to good engineering and technology. DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR BAALEI SIMCHAH? Clients often ask me which musician or band they should choose to accompany me. Bear in mind that there are many singers and bands out there, and whoever you take will undoubtedly perform to the best of their ability, so take into account your individual budget and choose accordingly. You will be getting the best you can. AND A POINTER FOR GUESTS? Yes! Not to gather a minyan at a simchah, unless, of course, it’s early and the hall is still empty. It’s insensitive to the baal simchah who has worked hard, paid for his guests, and wants everything to run on schedule, when suddenly the hall is emptied because of a Maariv. I’ve heard that the Gaavad Harav Tuvia Weiss, shlita, said that if it comes at the expense of staying at a dinner, it’s a greater mitzvah to be mesamei’ach the chassan and kallah than to daven with a minyan. That’s why when people ask me to announce a minyan, I tell them first to okay it with the baal simchah. But a baal simchah won’t refuse a guest’s request, and he will probably be approving a minyan reluctantly.

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HOW HAS MUSIC CHANGED OVER THE LAST DECADE? Being so much more accessible, Chassidishe niggunim have reached the farthest corners of the world, so that when Yidden come together the songs create an incredible unity and warmth among the crowds, even if it comprises people of all stripes. What’s also improved is the use of high-tech sound systems at tischen and simchas beis hashoei’vos, enhancing the singing and dancing amazingly and thereby injecting intense feeling and connection to Yiddishkeit. This can make a spiritual impact even on an estranged Yid.

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DArkei NoAM. Making your siMcha easier. Darkei Noam will pick up your guests from the airport, and provide them with transportation services their entire stay. Darkei Noam can take your guests to the wedding, on outings, and more during their entire stay, until the return trip to the airport. Ask about our special price for Mechutanim. All Darkei Noam drivers are fully licensed and insured.

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Pillar Hotel



London’s only kosher boutique hotel, The Pillar, is an ideal venue for your simcha. Whether it’s a wedding, barmitzvah, birthday party or sheva brachos, The Pillar will help ensure that your event is truly special. Arieh Wagner of The Pillar, told Hamodia, “It’s perfect for hosting a barmitzvah Shabbos, aufruf or a Shabbos sheva brachos. Your family and friends from out of town can stay here. We can cater Shabbos meals, Kiddush for up to 400 people and even davenning, so that elderly relatives don’t have to walk very far. Then on Sunday, your guests can get up to a lovely kosher breakfast.” The Pillar will design a personalised package, based on your family’s requirements, especially for your event. Arieh Wagner explained, “It’s so simple – the baalei simcha just need to speak to one person, to organise the entire event: accommodation for out of town guests, menu, table decor, etc. We do it all!”

This is a new concept for the UK – a kosher events venue, in London. By choosing The Pillar, your simcha becomes a pleasure. There is no need to try to co-ordinate a venue, a caterer, accommodation for your guests, all at the same time – The Pillar will provide all of them. Or if you prefer, Arieh Wagner will cater at any other venue of your choice. An experienced caterer, he has brought his extensive knowledge and team of professional chefs to North West London, where you can enjoy the same high quality menus and delicious food as in a West End hotel. Arieh told Hamodia that The Pillar’s unique atmosphere enhances your simcha with all kinds of details. “Just as a small example – we have built in washing stations, with separate facilities for ladies and men if you prefer. No need for unsightly urns and plastic buckets!” There is plenty of parking on-site, and The Pillar is in easy walking distance

from much of North West London, if you are making a Shabbos simcha. The Pillar’s building itself is worth a visit. As a Grade II listed building, its grassy quadrangle is an oasis of calm, away from the bustle of Hendon. The late-Victorian building has been thoroughly remodelled inside, retaining its unique architectural features, which add so much to the atmosphere, whilst exploiting all the comforts of the 21st century. The Citadel, The Pillar’s vaulted, three-storey high oak ceilinged function hall, incorporates timber-framed brick arcades and pillars, in the original construction, enhanced by detailed woodwork on the walls and gallery, and the marble and oak floors. Opening directly onto the quadrangle, it is an ideal setting for an intimate indoor chupah, or a reception. The Windsor Suite, The Pillar’s main function room, a former Victorian dining-room, is stylishly decorated in warm neutral tones, to allow hosts maximum scope when designing their own simcha. Seating up to 130 people around tables, or up 200 for a conference or other event, the Windsor Suite has fully equipped with a projector and controls for displaying an audio-visual around the room, or projecting audio to other parts of the venue.

The Pillar is an ideal hotel for visitors for London too. Its guest rooms are comfortably furnished and a kosher continental breakfast is served daily. With easy access to both local shuls and kosher facilities, as well as transport links to central London or a short drive to the M1, the hotel is a unique location for both tourists and business travellers. The Pillar is open to all: please feel free to come in, meet the staff and get a feel for this special place.


Wine Man THE

Since opening only a few months ago in September 2012, The Wine Man has become a feature of the Edgware kosher shopping scene. Owner Danny Saltman, who has been in the wine industry for more than ten years, described the premises as “very modern – a 21st century wine shop.” He explained to Hamodia that, apart from the extensive range of wines from across the world, plus whisky, vodka and liqueurs, The Wine Man has several unique elements which set it apart from other, similar ventures. Danny told Hamodia that despite the huge increase in the kosher wine market over the last ten years, in both volume and variety, many people don’t really understand what wine is all about. Research has shown that around 70% of people buy wine based on the packaging or on a recommendation. When they open the bottle later, nearly half of them will be disappointed with their purchase. The Wine Man aims to prevent this from happening, by educating its customers about wine in all sorts of innovative ways. “We don’t just teach people about what to buy and drink, but we share our knowledge of the history of wine and its manufacture with them, as well,” said Danny. One of the best ways of learning about wine is to taste it. Most wine shops, although they are happy to let their customers taste the wine, have a limit as to how many bottles they are prepared to open at any one time, as they don’t want to waste too much wine. Once opened, wine is at its best, at most, about a week before the quality deteriorates. However, The Wine Man has invested in two special “21st century tasting machines” as Danny calls them, which will keep the wine at peak quality for up to 45 days. (He thinks they are the first ever shop to have this technology.) One machine is stocked with red wines, and the other with white wines and they are rotated weekly, enabling customers, such as baalei simcha, to come in and try several wines at a time, free of charge. When someone making a simcha comes to The Wine Man to buy drinks for their event, the knowledgeable staff will assist him in choosing appropriate wines and other drinks to accompany the menu. If someone knows

of a wine they would like to buy which is not in the shop, Danny will use his extensive contacts to source it for them, even finding kosher versions of non-kosher wines which a customer might have seen elsewhere. The Wine Man offers free delivery around London, to make your simcha that bit easier. If you’re looking for something else to serve your guests apart from wine, The Wine Man carries a broad range of whiskies, including an exclusive range of single barrel, single malt whiskies, which are non-chill-filtered. These whiskies, which are the equivalent to a limited edition print, come in small batches of between 300 and 400 bottles (as opposed to a normal whisky run of several thousand bottles). Danny explains that although they have a unique taste and appearance, pricewise they begin at only slightly more than a regular single malt. Again, The Wine Man is happy to open bottles for customers to taste – they sometimes have as many as 10 bottles of whisky open for customers to try. A new product which might appeal to those with a sweeter tooth is a vodka infusion, with the hechsher of the Johannesburg Beis Din, that comes in chocolate and caramel varieties. The drink proved so popular that the first consignment sold out very quickly - but don’t worry: The Wine Man is expecting another delivery in immanently. Besides taking wine- and whisky-tastings out into the community, to a range of shul, charity, and corporate events, The Wine Man has become popular as a venue, itself, for both wine/whisky tastings and for small simchas. Seating up to about 30 people, and bringing in food from a kosher restaurant or deli of your choice, the shop has already hosted a number of events, including sheva brachos and a 60th birthday party. Possibly the most unusual occasion so far was a wine tasting organised by Edgware Yeshurun, accompanied by a shiur, given by the Rav, Rabbi Alan Lewis. All in all, The Wine Man’s stylish and well stocked shop and expert service makes it a top choice for baalei simcha





We spoke to several women who have made between 5 and 10 weddings over the last 20 years to find out both how making a wedding h a s changed over the last 20 years; and how making a wedding for your older children is different from making a wedding for your younger ones.



The first comment shared by all is how much more difficult it is now to make a shidduch, particularly for a girl, than it used to be. A parent has to be much more pro-active and ask some hard questions about mental health and yiras Shamayim. Of course, as we well know, asking questions is our hishtadlus, but what you really need is siyatta diShamaya to get the information you need. Peri Waldner from Boro Park mentioned the red lines of deference that used to stand between shadchanim and parents has been crossed by some and often questions are asked that are intrusive (dress sizes) and relate to petty things (do they scrape or stack?; what color is the Shabbos tablecloth?). All agreed that today’s society has become much more gashmiyus-oriented, a function of the increased wealth. And as choices proliferate – relating to everything from invitations, to napkins, to dresses, to music



- life in general has become more complex. The bar is raised on what is possible and in some communities weddings have truly gone over-the top.


Mrs. R.S. remarked that looking back forty years, the simchah was considered to be that of the parents, and therefore it was their prerogative to make the choices. “When you make a wedding for your children, you can do it your way,” the couple was told. Whereas one of today’s parents told me clearly, “I try to keep in mind that it’s their simchah and their needs and wants are number one.” Chassanim and kallos are much more opinionated and fully aware of what all those options are, often more so than their mothers. Our children go to a lot of weddings and often develop very specific ideas of what they want at their own wedding (namely

the best of everything they’ve seen elsewhere).


Obviously every community is different, every family is different and every chassan and kallah is different. But with the increasing acceptance in many circles that the chassan will learn, for at least a few years, the expectation that the parents, at least of the kallah, if not the chassan, will provide some support to the couple is a given. And peer pressure at a time of heightened emotion is a major force. No one wants to deprive their child of something important to them, that every other chassan and kallah gets. But at what standard of living? It depends who you ask. Many couples have increased expectations of support, furniture (new, not used), cars and 2-3 bedroom apartments, but many others are well aware of financial reality. Mrs. L. told me her children had to rein in her desire to provide them with everything they might need. “If I need another suit next year, I’ll come back to you. I don’t need it now.” Women in more yeshivish circles said this wasn’t really a problem for them. “We’re simple people,” Mrs. G. from Lakewood told me. “We married into simple families and the younger children knew they were going to get the same standard as their older siblings got.” Mrs. K. from Flatbush said she and her husband were very conscious of the fact that there were many siblings to follow the first and they didn’t want to set a standard that they wouldn’t be able to meet in the future. But, Mrs. G. pointed out, sometimes you have to budge a little – for one of her children it was very important to have a 5-piece band, even though her other weddings has only a one-man band, and they did provide him with that. Mrs. K. explained that from the first wedding almost twenty years ago, they invited only family and rebbeim to the seudah, and everyone else – childhood friends, country friends, work friends, neighbors – was invited only for the chupah and simchas chassan and kallah. They were the first in their community to do this, and followed this formula for the next many weddings. She also stated how important it is to be upfront with the mechutanim where you stand on various issues and how much and at what standard you will be able to participate. Mrs. L. commented that her

husband didn’t think a video should be made; if the other side wanted one, he wouldn’t object, but neither would he participate in the cost.


When it comes to gifts given before the wedding an important issue raised was whether to provide the same gift to each chassan/kallah even though the cost of silver, gold, sheitels and shtreimels has gone up so substantially. Every parent I spoke to felt it was important to treat all their chassanim and kallos the same, regardless of the cost. “When it comes to matanos,” said Mrs. K., “it’s not kedai to cut corners. You can cut corners on the food – make things yourself, wear the same dress yourself, but not for matanos. An adam gadol told us you must do things k’regil – like others in your community.”


Weddings themselves have definitely become more extravagant. For example, videos used to be optional and little girls did not get their hair made up professionally. In the higher echelons, wedding halls themselves are sometimes made over and the food served at the smorg outshines the fanciest meals of twenty years ago. Vorts have become mini-chasanos, as have some aufrufs and Shabbos sheva brachos. The whole wedding business has become very commercialized, and therefore very stressful for everyone involved. Another change noted by Mrs. G. is that the music has become unbearable at many chasunos; so loud that you can’t speak to anyone without straining your voice. She believes this is a reflection of a society that doesn’t make room for true relationships and covers everything up with loud music. “We have become insensitive and superficial,” she lamented. Weddings are no long about relating to old friends and relatives, but rather about dancing and shtick. The takanos set by many communities sometimes limit everything from the size of the wedding to the cost of the music and flowers, the menu, and even the gifts provided by both sides. These have been a major boon to families that are comfortable with them and struggling to make multiple weddings and support several couples. continued on page 131



Catering Taste




“It’s not about the style.” Caterer Neil Samuels recites his slogan with a hint of pride. “It’s about the perfection we aim to achieve.” True to his words, whether the venue is a shul or a sky garden at a fivestar hotel, it is the perfect atmosphere that he aims to create. When guests enjoy themselves, it instantly reflects in the simchah’s ambience, and events then unfold with rhythmic pleasure. It is precisely for this reason that Neil insists on nothing less than excellence in his standards. Neil Samuels’ Catering is under the strict supervision of the London Beth Din and events are overseen by an LBD shomer, who is present from the start of preparation until the end of the service, assuring that, aside for the gourmet style of cuisine being prepared by the chefs, the food meets the highest standard of kashrus that guests would expect. What Neil describes as a gratifying part of his business is the fact that he plays a role in the making

of a simchah, a milestone, which is naturally the nicer side of people’s lives. “We therefore try to make it special from the very first phone call to the end of the big night.” And, from his list of basic criterion, it seems that his catering business knows just how to pull that off. Glass-bottled drinks that clink musically and fine table linens draped to the floor are but some of Neil Samuels’ many touches… because to him it’s about perfection. Similarly, all meals are prepared fresh on-premises, so that guests are never served a secondrate, reheated meal. Not surprisingly, the impressive attention to detail and customer satisfaction has earned Neil Samuels’ Catering a partnership with the ritzy Sheraton Skyline Hotel in Heathrow, as well as arrangements with other upscale London hotels, including The Tara, Hilton Group, and Holiday Inns. Now that’s catering with taste!

The contrast between weddings in different communities is greater than ever.


On a more personal note, every chasanah is a whole world, as is every chassan and kallah. And of course, a daughter’s wedding is a totally different story than marrying off a son. “When a son gets married,” Mrs. L. said, “I actually get to see him more often than I ever did while he was away in yeshivah. But the preparations are minimal – his clothes, the gifts, getting the family ready. For a girl, you have the entire apartment to set up, all her outfits, sheitels, etc.” On the one hand, Mrs. L. said frankly, the first wedding is so very exciting it’s hard to match. On the other hand, said Mrs. K., you feel totally incompetent and overwhelmed and it’s hard to know where to start. By the tenth wedding you already have your method of doing things – subject, of course, to accommodations made for the other side. You also can’t make the tenth aufruf or Shabbos sheva brachos at home like you might have done the first because, k”h, there are so many more people and grandchildren to consider. This is an inevitable added expense. As you get older, circumstances often change. “At the time of my last wedding I was working and no longer had the time to go running around to several stores trying on gowns,” Mrs. L. said. “We had one afternoon allotted for that task, and so I ended up spending more money than I would have liked, but I really felt I had no choice. “There’s also an advantage in having older married children. The young kallah often wants her older married sister’s opinions on everything from pots to shoes, so I often asked an older sibling to take the kallah shopping.” Mrs. G. frankly admitted that she has no real interest in color schemes or flowers and had her oldest, more geshikt daughter take care of those things. Another consideration pointed out by Mrs. K. was that she felt that for her youngest children, she couldn’t consider an out-of-town shidduch because it was important to her (and the prospective chassan) that his siblings and families be able to attend the wedding. All the women also admitted that notwithstanding the

excitement of the first wedding, the emotional impact of each succeeding wedding increased. There is so much more to worry about. “As you get older you become more aware of just how many sad stories there are out there,” said Peri Waldner. “And when my first grandchild got married I knew things would never be the same. I was no longer the shvigger, I was now the bubby! I couldn’t believe it myself!”


Mrs. K. stated that it certainly gets easier; you know how to do things and there are so many more choices today – if one hall is booked, you can always find another one. But her priceless piece of advice, given her before her first wedding, was: “It’s important to know that something is always going to go wrong in your preparations and at the wedding. You can either let it upset you and lose yourself and your simchah or laugh it off. Most of it won’t matter the next morning.” She then described the list of things that went wrong at her first wedding, including napkins that didn’t match the tablecloths, broken air conditioning in June, and the chuppah itself still being set up as the chassan began to walk down the aisle! “As each wedding comes and goes you truly see the chessed of Hashem and have to be thankful for everything.” Mrs. R.S. told us she considered making each wedding like making Pesach. “Before you start, even if you’ve made Pesach for twenty years, you think that you’ll never be able to do it. And yet each time you do it. And it truly is impossible without siyatta diShamaya.” Mrs. G. told a poignant story about learning by her tenth wedding what really is important. When she returned home after having gone to meet the prospective kallah once things started looking serious, her daughters asked, “So, what does she look like?” She had no idea. She knew very clearly that this was a great girl for her son; she was impressed by the obvious warmth between the girl and her mother, and that is what she had looked for and noticed. The style of her hair and size of her dress? She had no idea!

“AS EACH WEDDING comes and goes, you truly see the chesed of Hashem”







Without intending to land a pun, Hershi Ginsberg admits to lacking flair when it comes to ‘blowing his own trumpet’, but he does share a fascinating experience he had many years back which reveals plenty of insight into why he does what he does. Whilst learning in yeshiva in Israel, he met the venerated Kabbalist, Harav Yitzchak Kadouri zt’l, who greeted him with the words, “I can see that your shoresh haneshama comes from the olam haneginah.” In this interview, Hershi speaks to Hamodia about the music that, as the mekubal perceived, is his life. As a child, fascinated by the fusion of notes and harmonies produced by different instruments, Hershi began teaching himself to read and write music and took the plunge when he wrote his first arrangement for a friend’s wedding in Israel. The thrill of listening to how beautifully his written notes on the manuscript paper came to life when the musicians struck up told him he’d reached the point of no return. Spurred on by the musicians who rushed over with nothing but compliments for those early arranging efforts, that was all the inspiration he needed to push him towards taking his fledgling career in music seriously. He immediately began to formally study orchestration and arrangement with some of the best and most world renowned music teachers, and then plunged headfirst into arranging albums (including two for his brother Sruli which featured such hits as ‘Aneini’), recording both globally and in his own studio in London as well as forming his own band, the Hershi Ginsberg Orchestra (HGO). Over the years, Hershi has produced, arranged for and performed with some of the biggest names in the Jewish music industry; MBD, Avraham Fried, Shloime Gertner, Yossi Green, Yishai Lapidot, Yaakov Shwekey,



Ohad Moskovitz, Michoel Shnitzler, Sruli Ginsberg, Dovid Gabay, Lipa Shmeltzer, Arelle Samet, Efrayim Mendelson to mention but a few. Despite his CV reading like a ‘who’s who’ list of international collaborators, he’s very much a Londoner, and that makes him ours! Yet, despite having performed live at events and recorded many hit albums, he’s remained very approachable and is a popular choice for all sorts of events and projects big or small. “Many people think we only do big concerts or large gala events where they need the big guns,” says Hershi, but he’s keen to stress that the HGO are able to offer that same level of expertise and service to their private simcha clientele and for a fraction of the cost you might ordinarily expect for a band of that calibre. Hershi changed the standard of local wedding music considerably since entering the market, simply because he opened people’s eyes… and ears. For years, there was little choice. “You had less than a handful of singers when I was growing up,” he points out. “Musicians back then would learn the songs on the bandstand, if at all. Sometimes they had some sheet music provided, but more often than not it was poorly presented at best. As result, many of the local musicians on the scene had either learned bad habits or they simply didn’t have the authentic flavour which we’re now much more accustomed to. It used to be just a game of numbers to many of the traditional bandleaders, with extra musicians added to the lineup who’d merely play whatever they fancied from whatever sheet music was provided.” Hershi saw the opportunity to start something fresh, where he could introduce proper arrangements and structure to his orchestra. In the early days, many London clients would ask him to bring over musicians from Israel with whom to perform, but it bothered him

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that clients ended up paying dearly for the authenticity they were after from those musicians, simply because the local musicians in the UK had not yet been exposed to that sort of authenticity, arrangements or education in the various styles of Jewish music. Hershi made it his mission to select and rehearse with some of the finest local musicians to achieve an equivalent end product, without the price tag and hassle of flying musicians in from abroad. Each musician was assigned their own individual sheet music which would show them what to play, when, and more importantly how to accompany the singer. With siyatta dishmaya, the results were amazing - suddenly there was a spirited verve reverberating among the guests, permeating the atmosphere with energy and changing the face of local Jewish wedding music. Weddings guests were quickly wowed by the fascinating spectacle on stage – the staccato flurry of the drumsticks on the kit, the swift fingertip movements of the saxophonist, the trumpeter’s cheeks blown up and flushed, the fluid sweep of the violinist’s bow beneath a perfectly tilted chin – and people started recognising how a well arranged orchestra really does make a difference to the ultimate simcha atmosphere. Indeed, the different shades of colour that an orchestra is able to make through the different instruments, arrangements and repertoire choices actually inspires and injects the singer with enthusiasm so that they perform better, in turn increasing the fervour and spirit of the simcha. In climatic moment, the band is able to adapt accordingly, to throw in more oomph and gusto, and the result is a real live interaction with the crowd. Prior to the big day, Hershi sits down with his client and their chosen singer and together they decide on something novel, something fresh. “Perhaps something faintly predictable or familiar so that guests can tap their fingers and hum along,” he says, “but original enough to get them thinking - Hmm, I like the way they tweaked that.” No matter whether you have the same caterer, the same venue or a familiar crowd, the band can add the zest or spice needed for each specific client’s simcha – which, as a music writer, Hershi can inject to a client’s taste. While the client is foremost on his list of people to please, Hershi has others to think about besides the host, which makes his job a great challenge. The guests often have their own song preferences, some-

times asking for changes in middle of a function, and of course every baal simcha wants to know that their guests are having a good time, so Hershi constantly has to be on the lookout to accommodate everyone. In his own words, “a good band leader has to be able to read the crowd, as well as the music”. Many guests are sensitive to volume, but Hershi asserts that he has yet to have someone come over and ask him to drop a decibel. The HGO always employ a dedicated company to provide the sound system, with a sound engineer circling the hall throughout the course of the evening, tablet computer in hand, to monitor the noise level at every corner. Therefore, the resulting sound is rich and pulsating, but never pounding on the ear drums. Another much-admired innovation introduced by the HGO is the string ensemble played at a chupa or dinner which, with a stunningly orchestrated repertoire creates the magical setting a simcha truly deserves. The ensemble comprises violins, violas and cellos, which produce subtle overtones that interleave harmoniously to form a stunningly poignant backdrop. Although Hershi and his musicians’ jobs appear intensely exhausting both physically and emotionally (and they certainly are!), the musicians still manage to have a laugh together, especially during their director’s clichéd pep talks. His band hear it time and time again, and by now it’s become a running joke, but to Hershi it’s a fundamental part of his success: Before the curtains are drawn, he runs through their programme and reminds them, yet again, that the ultimate reason they are all here is ‘to make this day special for the bride and groom’, and they must give it their all. And guess what. It must do the trick. Because a wedding with the Hershi Ginsberg Orchestra raises the resonance in a way that only a talented ensemble as his can! Readers should be on the lookout for the HGO’s upcoming CD to be included with a future edition of Hamodia, which in response to popular demand will offer a ‘teaser’ of wedding music to give prospective baalei simcha a taste of how the orchestra sounds on stage, or simply for the public to listen to and enjoy. Arrangements will include studio recordings performed with singers they work with on a regular basis, as well as a chupah medley accompanying the Zimroh choir.



Anti Baal Tashchis Squad Mrs. R Cohen 792 3696

CANDLE HOLDERS CHUPPAH & CHASSUNAH ACCESSORIES Halberstadt 792 2799 or 07977 587 842 Mr. & Mrs. Ezagui 740 7977

GARTELS MITZVAH TANZ Mr. S. Ezagui 740 7977





Jordanah Jacobs 07967 785452

BRIDAL DRESS KALLAH & BRIDESMAID ACCESSORIES Mrs. P. Adler - 792 8764 Mrs. R. Reich - 792 4170




Mrs. S. Adler 740 3071




Mr. S. Ezagui - 740 7977





Mrs. B. Dadash- 792 0129


KIDDUSH GIRLS PREPARING & SERVING Chani Weltscher - 720 8371 07912 623917


CANDELACOVERINGS, - 07952 212076

Mrs. Abitan - 740 1013





Mrs Wilbeshevitz - 792 8277 Mrs Fulda - 740 5721

Schwalbe 773 6106


Mrs Journo - 792 2022


Zelda Bas Avrohom Yehuda Halevi Gemach Ros Livshin - 740 3941

Mrs. Bernstein - 798 6972



Mrs. Worch 792 9512

Zichron Shlomo Family Reif - 792 5138


TABLE COVERINGS & DECORATIONS Zichron Miriam Has Rachamim Flower Gemach Mrs. Sarah Gorr - 773 4090

Mrs Pinczewski 792 4692, 07905 331669


Mrs. E. Adler - 740 3071



Mrs. S Bamberger - 740 1112

HOT PLATES & HEATERS Zichron Yosef Mrs. C. Liberow - 740 2388


Mrs. S. Gifen- 798 0128 Mrs. D. Leitner- 795 7109


Family Pinnes - 798 9258




URN - 795 0518 Chasdei Meir Rephoel Mrs. R. Springer - 708 8351


Tablecloth Gemach Rebbetzen Krausz- 740 4548


Zichron Shimon Ben Chanina 795 6034 or 07790 883138

Mrs. Brysh - 795 2538

Malka Kinn - 798 0537

Zichron Refoel Yehuda Ben Kloinemus Elisheva Fulda 07967 400767




Mrs. Henry 792 6624 veil sewn to your gown

Ruth Maslin Hat Gemach Dina Stern - 773 2456



Sheindy Bude- 792 4700

Mrs Halpern - 795 3414

KALLAH AND CHOSON 773 7599 Books


Small double room with en-suite. Has own entrance but no cooking facilities. Contact: Family D. Pruim 0191 478 3944

ARTIFICIAL FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS FOR CHASSUNOHS ONLY. For a minimal charge. Contact: Roberts 0191 477 1344


Contact: Family Ehrentreu 477 7927

BRIDESMAID DRESSES. Contact: Salomon 477 5724


for simchos. Contact: Mrs E. Schleider 490 0844



For all occasions. Contact: Shields 477 4727. Proceeds to Tzedaka.

Contact: Hershkowitz 490 0535




Contact: Freudiger 477 5032 or

For a minimal charge. Contact: Adam 0191 477 1625





Help finding accommodation for guests

Mrs R. Mannes 07834 235 992


baskets, pillars etc. Contact: Dubiner 478 6055

Contact: Shein 443 1323

Caller enabled only. Available for short term use. Contact: Cooper 440 4492

Salomon () 477 0093

Contact: Mrs E. Schleider 490 0844



Weg 440 3998


Gemach Tiferes Mordechai - 2 styles available. Contact: 478 2846 / 440 2335


LONDON ARTSCROLL BENTCHERS AND ZEMIROS 020 8209 1600 ATERES KALLOH Stamford Hill 020 8809 1919 Beautiful selection of beaded turbuns for under the chupa ATERES MALKE 020 8809 0479 Beautiful diamondand pearl headpeices and crowns for kallohs

GEMACHIM 020 8806 6287 We dress your kalloh from Top to toe - large selection of kalloh gowns, crowns, headpeices , veils, shoes and organza or fur capes. Call for confidential appointments. CATERING POTS GEMACH Rosenberg 020 8800 3731 CENTERPEICE GEMACH Mrs Rudzinski 020 8806 5225

BAKING GEMACH Mrs Rudzinski 020 8806 5225 Full range of fancy bundt tins, flexi tins, cookie cutters and decorating tools

CHASENE TEAM NW Mrs Rubin 020 8455 2027 Caters wedding reception at cost price

BEAUTIFUL WEDDINGS 020 8802 6197 Chasunah shtick. Proceedes to tzeddakah

CROCKERY (FLEISHIG) Mrs Guttman 020 8800 7059 Kedassia only

BECHERS - WEISS 020 8802 3476

CROCKERY AND CUTLERY (MILKY) Mrs Schlesinger 020 8806 3436

BEDDING AND TOWEL GEMACH 020 8800 4311 BENTCHERS AND ZEMIROS GEMACH Mrs Gluck 020 8806 6244 BIRCHAS HAMOZON BENTCHERS. Mrs Paksher 020 8806 6276 Individual laminated bentchers for your simchas BIRCHAS HAMOZON BENTCHERS. INCL. MARRIV 020 8800 9393

CUTLERY GEMACH (FLEISHIG AND MILCHIG) FAMILY SCHLOSS GOLDERS GREEN 020 8209 1600. Email gggemach@yahoo.Com kedassia users only. Mini challah covers challah knives zemiros books mincha/ maariv booklets bechers salad bowls soup toureens and many more items CUTLERY GEMACH (FLEISHIG) Mrs Krawczynski 020 8211 0719 CUTLERY GEMACH (FLEISHIG) 020 8800 7323

(returnable deposit)

Mrs Grosskopf

 OT PLATE, SHABBOS H URNS AND CHUPPAH LECHT GEMACH Mrs Berger 020 8800 5357 KIDDUSH SET UP 07974 505 858 LEV SIMCHA GEMACH (24 hour answerphone) 07931 931 951 Folding tables, folding chairs, benches, hot plates, urns, coat rails

020 8800 5714black Mrs Breuer

MOBILE PHONE GEMACH 07971 816 080 MUSIC GEMACH LINE 07779 022 316 Free keyboard player for all simchos IMCHA ACCESSORIES GEMACH/ S MIRRORS/GLASSBOWLS ETC Traube 020 8806 5745 SIMCHA GEMACH Mrs S Margulious 020 8806 1421 BASKETS AND CENTRE PIECES ETC simcha gemach line 020 8806 3436 Will help you organise and cope with your simchas IMCHAS ESTHER GEMACH We set up tenoyims Mrs Reich 020 8809 2180 We set up tenoyims. Leiloyu nishmas esther bas yisroel Mrs Esther Weiss Mrs Weiss 020 8802 9724

BRIDESMAID & PAGE BOY GEMACH NW11 07711 475 232 More dresses always welcome


BRIDESMAID DRESSES SHOSHVINIM GEMACH Mrs Factor Stamford Hill 020 8802 2071

EXQUISITE FLORAL HIRE 020 8802 6088 Mosdos Satmar ladies guild. All proceeds to talmud torah

Mrs R Englander 020 8809 3073



BRIDESMAID DRESSES BRIDAL CHIC Mrs Vorhand 020 8455 0290 Mrs Ackerman 020 8202 5200 Wedding gowns, headdresses, veils etc. by appt only « BRIDES LIKRAS KALLOH GEMACH Mrs Glausiuz 020 8806 8858 Mrs Ostreicher


FOLDING TABLES A ND BENCHERS Mrs Reiner 020 8806 3935 GAN HADDASIM SILK FLOWERS FOR CHASUNAHS 020 8800 5469. 07956 406 588 GEMACH KALLOH 020 8800 6664 Deck tichlech and badeken kopkes



Mrs Bressler 020 8806 3508

TABLE GEMACH 020 8455 0282

020 8800 7323- cream/oyster Mrs Bindinger 020 8806 1586- maroon Mrs Levine 020 8800 3567-navy blue Mrs Stekel 020 8800 6581-peach Mrs Gluck 020 8800 8858-white and cream -

020 8800 5830-choc brown Mrs Margulies 020 8809 0444-silver/greyMrs Schneck 020 8802 1850-lilac and bottle green Mrs Lowin 020 8802 7915-gold Mrs Schwimmer TOWEL GEMACH Mrs H L Weiss 020 8802 1856 Hand towels for simchas leiloyu nishmas Devora Yita Hinda bas Harav Moshe Mrs Ch Tager 020 8806 8360 ZICHRON FAIGE CHASUNAH SHTICK GEMACH Mrs Cohen 19 Gresham Gardens NW11 8NX 020 8455 6640 Arches, umbrella, parachutes, skipping ropes, mazel tov signs, posters. £20 damage deposit get back TABLECLOTHS GEMACH Mrs Mendel 0161 792 3434 Tablecloths for all your simchos SHABBOS LAMP GEMACH Mrs Weinberger 020 3645 0271 CHUPPA CANDLES HOLDERS Miri Hirsch 020 8209 0689 INVITATIONS Mrs Bamberger 07894 347891 CREAM FUR JACKETS FOR BRIDESMAIDS Mrs Bamberger 07894 347891 SAT NAV GEMACH Waller 020 8238 5858 We have Tom Tom with up to date maps for UK, Western Europe and USA STAMFORD HILL CHASUNAH CALANDER GEMACH Mrs Schwartz 020 8211 0353 MATERNITY SIMCHA AND EVENINGWEAR Gemach Chasdei Mirel Shani North West London 07866 980 843


DIRECTORY LIST BADCHAN Katzenberg 0032 4854 7976......................................... 95 Yossi Heller 020 8203 1243........................................... 81 BAKED CONFECTIONERIES Designer Bites 0161 795 7513......................................... 108 Dalias Cake 07950 678 909........................................... 67 Perfect confectionary 0161 792 4841........................................... 81 BEAUTY & MAKE UP Clarity 020 8880 1910..................................... 21, 23 Penina’s Clinic 020 8806 1135........................................... 81 BRIDAL WEAR Bridal Nights 020 8806 8847........................................... 65 The Beautiful Bride 020 8458 9259................................... 99 CATERERS Creme De La Creme 07778 248 688..............................................7 Goldstein Events 020 8801 1999........................................... 97 Itzik Caterers 020 8438 9891........................................... 43 Pardes Catering 020 8806 7774.............................80, 96, 108

Beis Lepleitos 020 8144 9181......................................... 117 Kollel Polin 020 7272 2255..............................................5 Kollel Chibath Yerushalayim 0208 806 7947......................................... 115 Kupat Ha’ir 0800-169-6631.......................................... 52 DISPOSABLES Kays 020 8458 3756........................................... 49 Mashers 0161 798 9830........................................... 63 L&G Disposibles 020 8806 2662......................................... 108 EQUIPMENT HIRE Grosvenor Rentals 0208 202 6003........................................... 65 FLORISTS Floral Designs 07946 489124.......................................... 125 FOOD ARRANGEMENTS

GROCERIES Kays 020 8458 3756........................................... 49 HALLS & HOTELS Avenue 020 8371 6050/52.................................... 121 Decorium 07970 460 924 .......................................... 99 Hilton Wembley 0208 371 3286 .......................................... 25 ICC Jerusalem 972-6558502/522...................................... 53 Kinloss Banqueting and Events 020 8349 5268 ........................................ 140 Marriot Regents Park 020 7449 4412......................................... 3 Meridian Grand 07857 345 012 .................................... 111 Prince and Princess 07971 183 415........................................... 14

Fruit Creations 020 8800 0400........................................... 20

The Nancy Reuben Hall 07969 959 933........................................... 59

Fruit Flora 020 8809 3523........................................... 51

The Pillar +44 (0) 20 8457 4000................................ 94

Momentum 00 32 483 505 131..................................... 76 Savoury Platters 020 8802 2171........................................... 81 FURNITURE

Samuels 020 8386 7696........................................... 89

Multilines +44(0) 20 8997 7788................................. 38

Sassoon Catering 020 8450 6900........................................... 77

SNT Funiture Ltd 020 8802 1155........................................... 60


House of Aksler 020 8800 2373........................................... 38

Pardes Halls 020 8806 7774................................... 95, 138

Furniture World (Postlark Ltd) 020 8885 4360........................................... 34

Wassertzug Caterers 07772 369772............................................ 21

Gorgeous Gifts 020 8455 6010........................................... 51

Chocolate Fantasies 020 8806 5555......................................... 138

Reich Caterers 020 8459 2587........................................... 24

Simchas Nissuin 020 8458 2959 .......................................... 76



GIFTS & SOUVENIRS Brauns Books & Gifts 020 8809 9393........................................... 39

Yamor Suites 07968 387 499........................................... 93 HEADWEAR DG Headwear 020 3602 9874........................................... 65 Hat Point 020 8806 4607........................................... 45 INVITATIONS The Mailshot 020 8802 5922 .......................................... 61 Senprint 020 8731 8797........................................... 67

JEWELLERY Globe Watch 020 8806 3597........................................... 23 J & B diamonds 020 8800 8972........................................... 96 Finepearl Jewellery 07507 840 930........................................... 23 Perfect Pearls 07432 722 408........................................... 96 Weiders Watches 020 8806 7591........................................... 80 LADIES WEAR Gorgeous Gowns 020 8731 6065........................................... 80 Modabelle 020 8800 6873........................................... 18 MENSWEAR Hat and Clothing Centre 0161 773 3355........................................... 20 Lee Ave 020 8806 0070........................................... 67 Roth Clothing 020 8809 6430........................................... 64 MUSIC Asaf Flumi’s Band 07825 913 714........................................... 26 Avraham Kahn 07790 513 660........................................... 45 Bamberger Music +32 475 232 071...................................... 110 Buchy Gluck 07875 339 961........................................... 63 Eli Tamir 07941 675 990..............................................5 Ginsberg Music 07966 473 952......................................... 109 Menachem Herman and Inspire Events 0208 343 4884........................................... 57 Moshe Kahn 07973 197 898........................................... 43

Shayelle Gluck 07966 098 915........................................... 67 The Hershi Ginsberg Orchestra 07961 319 432........................................... 15 Weisz music 0161 798 6896........................................... 87 Yossi Dunner 07767 496 592........................................... 27 Zimrah Choir 07983 407 649........................................... 35 PHOTOGRAPHERS & VIDEO Blend Video 020 8905 3659......................................... 107 Chagai Cohen 07853 549 714........................................... 24 Daniel Morris 07795 11 20 80 ......................................... 10 David Sherman 020 803 5566 ............................................ 76 Freylich Video 020 8809 6985........................................... 19 Mendel Photography 020 8442 9309......................................... 138 Shuli Smus 07966 415 348........................................... 95 PRODUCTION NTV sound 07824 506 305........................................... 48 Rafi Pinnick 020 8458 5758........................................... 41 SC Productions 020 8632 0701........................................... 13

SIMCHA PLANNERS Jam Events +44 (0)208 371 3286................................. 25 Mango Events 07983 595 518........................................... 97 Sash Events 07907 289 807........................................... 80 Simcha Express 07772 563 441........................................... 21 Simcha Service 020 8802 1482........................................... 99 TRANSPORTEmess Car Service Emess Car Service 020 8809 4444........................................... 61 Darkei Noam Ltd 020 8800 5566......................................... 123 WIGS Gali Wigs 0208 455 0349........................................... 89 Georgie 020 8806 4852......................................... 107 WINE Drumstick Products Co 020 8885 2600......................................... 139 The Grapevine 020 8880 8080.................................2 The Wine Cellar 020 8800 8488.........................70, 71 The Wine Man +44 (0)20 8958 6007.....................11

SHEITEL SUPPLIES Sheitel Supplies 07505 38 39 37........................................ 124 SILVER Royal Silver 020 8800 1718........................................... 59 The Silver Place 020 8458 8515........................................... 87

Ora Ve Simcha Band 07950 414 142........................................... 31 Shaya Austerlitz 07811 162 467........................................... 93


Wedding Jan 2013  

Hamodia Wedding Supplement 2013

Wedding Jan 2013  

Hamodia Wedding Supplement 2013