Shalom Rokeach, the 18-year-old grandson of  the Jewish leader of the Hasidic dynasty Belz Rebbe , married his 19-year-old bride Hannah Batya Penet last Tuesday in a ceremony attended by more than 25,000 wedding guests in Jerusalem, Israel. The Hasidic wedding ceremony that lasted for hours until dawn is significant because Rokeach is the  eldest and only male grandchild therefore heir and future leader of one of the largest Hasidic sects in the world. Leaders from other Hasidic sects and thousands of Belz Hasids  from U.S. and Europe attended the ceremony. Streets in Jerusalem were shut down because of the big event.

Many of the Belz members who attended the Jewish wedding used binoculars to watch the ceremony. The bride Hannah wore a white gown with a thick veil covering her face while the groom wore the traditional black suit. The wedding took place under chuppah, a four-poled stand with a canopy overhead. The Ultra Orthodox wedding ceremony includes a Mitzvah tantz ritual wherein family members of the bride  and rabbis dance in front of her while the bride stood still holding one end of a long sash. Later, the guests enjoy a traditional wedding meal which lasts until dawn.

The Belz Hasidic dynasty was founded in Belz, Poland by Rabbi Shalom Rokeach in 1817 who became the rabbi of Belz. He built the city’s largest synagogue which the Germans later under Hitler tried to destroy by fire and then by dynamite. The Belz rabbi at that time Aharon Rokeach , known as the “Wonder Rebbe” , was on top of the Gestapo‘s list of most wanted men. Although they lost their families to the Nazi Germans, the rabbi and his half-brother Rabbi Mordecai of Bilgoray  were able to escape with the help of a Hungarian counter-intelligence agent who was friendly to Jews. Rebbe Aharon built his Hasidic court in Tel Aviv where it grew until it became one of the largest Hasidic sects in the world with U.S. having the largest number outside Israel mostly residing in Borough Park neighborhood . Belz is the largest Hasidic community in Borough Park, Brooklyn, NY. 

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