Compass

Kosher Chupah Starting from Zero

Activist: 

The task was simple: to organize a kosher Chupah [wedding ceremony] in Gomel, with a Jewish population of about 7,000 Jews, about 700 active participants in Jewish events, some 70 participants in youth activities and 7 observant families in a city with a population of 600,000!

The main challenge was the restaurant - there is no Kosher restaurant in Gomel.  We needed to find a place that was willing to close for several days so that we could make it kosher. It should also be cute and fashionable to make all our guests feel great during the celebration (and it should cost less than the US national budget for the coming 10 years…).

Jewish music, the Chupah itself, invitations and guests, logistics and accommodation, entertainment, sheva brahot, decorating the restaurant and a Chupah hall, making everything kosher –  starting from a zero, these were the issues we had to take care, without offending both observant and non-observant guests. And, the main challenge throughout remained, how to preserve warm relations with all relatives and survive this period of great stress as a couple.

In the end the wedding was great! Our Chupah was in the center of old Gomel Park with a Jewish Orchestra playing during breaks. A great celebration for a hundred guests from all over the world (unfortunately, we couldn’t invite all 300 that came for Chupah itself to the party), great music, a real magician and fire show with fireworks, combined with a separate dancing, berahot and blessings, and prayers afterwards- we managed to reconcile the differences. And I am proud that we managed to convince most of our secular guests that it is possible to stay Jewish in our part of the world!

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