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Jun 24, 2009 3:12 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Joy rules the day as Hasidim wed

Jun 24, 2009 3:12 PM

Hundreds of men, some with long gray beards, wearing black hats and long black coats, filled one half of the Ross School’s gym on Sunday night, laughing and dancing, holding hands and hugging as they weaved across the floor in an ecstatic spiral.

On the other side of a thick row of green palm trees, hundreds of women also laughed and danced, hand in hand, around a radiant young bride.

What was being billed as the first Hasidic wedding in East Hampton was underway.

The bride, Chanale Weiss, (formerly Baumgarten), is the daughter of Rabbi Liebel Baumgarten and his wife Goldie, who lead the Chabad-Lubavitch of East Hampton, a Hasidic sect of Orthodox Judaism. The Baumgartens moved to East Hampton full-time five years ago and established the Chabad House, across Woods Lane and down the block from the Jewish Center of the Hamptons.

Rabbi Baumgarten first established Chabad-Lubavitch of the East End in 1987, when the couple’s oldest son Yisroel was a toddler and Chanale just an infant.

“It’s been incredible,” said Mrs. Baumgarten, wearing a stunning golden dress. She said they picked the Ross School as it was the only place in the area that was big enough and that also could accommodate the wedding’s traditions, including a division throughout the entire reception between men and women. Between 600 and 700 people, including many children, were in attendance, she said.

Family and friends attended from all over the country and the world, including South Africa, Colombia, France and Sweden, where one of the Rabbi’s nephews, Rabbi Chaim Greisman, lives in Stockholm.

“It’s beautiful. It’s amazing to come here and see so many religious Jews celebrating together,” said Rabbi Greisman. “Back home, if I want to see another religious Jew I have to look in the mirror.”

Rabbi Baumgarten said that the community of East Hampton has been incredibly welcoming of his family.

“We’d like to celebrate and share with all people the unity, togetherness and oneness which we feel out here is very strong,” he said.

The newly wed Ms. Weiss is one of 12 children. Her extended family is even larger. Ms. Weiss’s grandmother, Nechama Baumgarten, has more than 200 grandchildren.

She was introduced to her new husband, Rabbi Mendy Weiss of Manchester, England, by acquaintances of acquaintances, Mrs. Baumgarten said. Once the idea of matching them was hatched, Rabbi Baumgarten and his wife went to a “shadchan,” or official matchmaker in Brooklyn, a woman named Chevi Lipsker.

“We set up the first date,” Mrs. Baumgarten said. “They go in on the date with the knowledge that we’re looking for a serious marriage, and then it’s up to them.”

After the first date, there was a month until their engagement and three months until the wedding. Her marriage was the first for the Baumgartens.

At the ceremony, the families provided a booklet that explained each part of a traditional Jewish wedding.

“Because of the eclectic crowd they had, it was nice that they went out of their way to explain the tradition,” said Marc Hurwitz, a guest from New York City.

“It’s extraordinary to join our colleagues in their personal simcha, or joy,” said Rabbi Anchelle Perl from the Chabad of Mineola, who has been a good friend of Rabbi and Mrs. Baumgarten for the last two decades. “They took the ham out of the Hamptons,” he said.

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Mazel Tov!
By gordie howe (55), hockeytown usa on Jun 23, 09 6:18 PM
2 members liked this comment
"Rabbi Liebel Baumgarten and his wife Goldie, who lead the Chabad-Lubavitch of East Hampton, a Hasidic sect of Orthodox Judaism."

What is the world are all those idiots in Westhampton Beach so worried about with an eruv?!? The Lubavitchs are one of the more "extreme" variants of Orthodox Jews!

By Frank Wheeler (1823), Northampton on Jun 23, 09 8:08 PM
oy vey!!!!
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Jun 24, 09 8:51 PM
oy vey!!!!
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Jun 24, 09 8:51 PM
Looks like Easthampton will be getting an application for an eruv next.
By lulubelle1956 (24), Westhampton Beach on Jun 24, 09 10:42 PM
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