big city weddings in Orthodox families #hungary #general #lithuania #warsaw

Elise Miller

We have all seen the (unfortunate) outdoor wedding in the Fiddler shtetl. But what about Orthodox families in big, sophisticated cities of the late 19th and early 20th centuries?
Since women could not come down from the galleries to be brides, where did the families hold the actual ceremonies? I am assuming the receptions were held at home, or for those who could afford it, in rented rooms or at restaurants. Or did Orthodox synagogues have social halls then? 

I'm writing family stories based on my gen research, and am focused on Nagyvarad, Hungary (today Oradea, Romania); also cities in Poland and Lithuania. 

If you know where weddings and receptions took place, please reply!  Thank you!
Elise Miller
San Mateo, CA

Yehuda Berman

Weddings are not usually performed in synagogues. My European-born parents were married in America, in the early 1930's, in my mother's brother's living room, on a Friday afternoon. My wife's grandparents were married in the 1920's in Jerusalem in the bride's parent's home, also on a Friday afternoon and they invited guests for coffee and cake on Saturday night. In both cases the wedding celebration was also the traditional Shabbat meal for the family. Most people did not have much money and did not invite the whole world to the wedding. All you needed was a minyan (a quorum of 10 men). 
Yehuda Berman

Bruce Drake


If any of these helps, here are URLs to four Yizkor book chapters involving wedding customs:

Dan Nussbaum

For purposes of the Orthodox weddings that I have attended women were allowed down from the balcony but sat separate from the men, on the other side of the main aisle.

The bride was allowed on the bima, this one time only.

Daniel Nussbaum II, M.D., FAAP
Retired Developmental Pediatrician
Rochester, New York
Tone can be misinterpreted in email. Please read my words with warmth, kindness, and good intentions.

Searching for;
Nussbaum, Katzenstein, Mannheimer and Goldschmidt; Rhina, Raboldshausen and Bad Hersfeld, Germany
Teplitzky, Bendersky and Kaszkiet; Uman, Ukraine
Rosenthal and S(c)henk(el)man; Zinkov, Ukraine
Bild and Kashlevsky; anywhere

Ittai Hershman

As it happens, I have a remarkable photograph of the ~1920 wedding of an Orthodox great-uncle who lived at the time in Vienna.  His bride's family was from Hungary, and the wedding occurred at the Zvonárska Street Synagogue in Košice (presumably to enable maximal family participation, as there seems to have not been any family connection on either side to Košice).  

[The union ultimately ended in divorce: he made Aliyah, she remarried and perished in the Shoah along with the son from their marriage, and a daughter from her second marriage.  But, I digress.  For her story, and that of her family, see Elaine Kalman Naves' "Journey to Vaja" (McGill, 1996).  As a further tangent, I was able to identify the location thanks to Dr. Maroš Borský, and since then the destroyed interior featured in Simon Schama's BBC series "The Story of the Jews" at the opening of Episode 4.]

Ittai Hershman,
New York City

Stephen Weinstein

On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 05:20 AM, Yehuda Berman wrote:
All you needed was a minyan (a quorum of 10 men). 
You don't need a minyan for a wedding.  You need just three men: two witnesses and the groom.
Stephen Weinstein
Camarillo, California, USA