The bride who can never show her face: Hannah Batya Penet, 19, must stay veiled

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  • Thousands attended the wedding of the grandson of the leader of the Hasidic dynasty Belz Rebbe yesterday
  • 18-year-old Shalom Rokeach will be the future leader of the Jewish sect - one of the largest in the world
  • He married 19-year-old bride Hannah Batya Penet in the traditional ceremony which lasted several hours until dawn

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 04:14 EST, 22 May 2013 | UPDATED: 06:09 EST, 22 May 2013

Weddings are always a big occasion, but this traditional Jewish ceremony dwarfs most with a guest-list of more than 25,000.

Jewish well-wishers from around the world attended the Ultra Orthodox Jewish wedding to witness the marriage of the grandson of the leader of the Hasidic dynasty Belz Rebbe yesterday. 

Steeped in tradition, these amazing images show the ceremony of 18-year-old Shalom Rokeach and his 19-year-old bride Hannah Batya Penet in Jerusalem, Israel.

Big occasion: Ultra Orthodox Jewish bride Hannah Batya Penet is seen in a traditional white wedding dress with a veil covering her face as her female relatives escort her to the ceremony in Jerusalem, Israel

'Ultra orthodox wedding': Hasidic bride Hannah Batya Penet is seen in a traditional white wedding dress with a veil covering her face as her female relatives escort her to the ceremony in Jerusalem, Israel

Future leader: The groom Shalom Rokeach, 18, pictured centre, is the grandson of the head of one of the largest Hasidic communities in Jerusalem, Belz Rebbe, and is expected to take his place as leader of the sect one day

Future leader: The groom Shalom Rokeach, 18, pictured centre, is the grandson of the head of one of the largest Hasidic communities in Jerusalem, Belz Rebbe, and is expected to take his place as leader of the sect one day

Centre of attention: The bride Hannah Batya Penet takes part in the Mitvah tantz ritual where honoured rabbis dance in front of her

Centre of attention: The bride Hannah Batya Penet during the ceremony which lasts several hours

Rare occasion: Thousands of Hasidim Jews dressed in black watch as an Ultra Orthodox Jewish rabbi dances with the bride during the Mitvah tantz ritual

Rare occasion: Thousands of Hasidim Jews dressed in black watch as an Ultra Orthodox Jewish rabbi dances with the bride during the Mitvah tantz ritual

Shalom Rokeach is the eldest and only male grandchild of the Belz Rebbe, who heads one of the largest Hasidic communities in the world. Being the only male, the newlywed is assumed to be the Rebbe's future heir in leading the community.

Belz Rebbe is an ancient Polish-Jewish dynasty which was founded in the 14th Century in the Polish town of the same name. The marriage of one of its descendants, who is considered aristocracy among Orthodox Jews, is big occasion and all members of the sect from all over the world are invited.

The wedding is a rare meet-and-greet opportunity for leaders of various Hasidic sects. Thousands of Belz Hasids from the United States and Europe attended the celebration, which lasted until dawn. A number of Jerusalem streets were shut down because of the size of the celebrations.

Traditional Jewish weddings consist of two separate parts, the betrothal ceremony, known as erusin or kiddushin, and the actual wedding ceremony, known as nisuin.

Big event: The wedding - which saw up to 30,000 guests attend - is one of the largest Orthodox Jewish ceremonies in recent years

Big event: The wedding - which saw up to 30,000 guests attend - is one of the largest Orthodox Jewish ceremonies in recent years

Crowded: Thousands wanted to witness the wedding of Shalom Rokeach who will become the next leader of one of the largest Hasidic communities in Israel

Crowded: Thousands wanted to witness the wedding of Shalom Rokeach who will become the next leader of one of the largest Hasidic communities in Israel

Under the stars: Jewish weddings - known as chuppahs - are traditionally conducted underneath the sky

Under the stars: Jewish weddings - known as chuppahs - are traditionally conducted underneath the sky

The first betrothal ceremony sees the groom give a wedding ring to the bride. During this part of the service, the bride is prohibited from talking to all other men.

The wedding ceremony then takes place in a large tent known as a chuppah so they couple can be married under the sky. After the ceremony the bride and groom spend an hour together before the bride re-enters the chuppah and, after gaining her permission, the groom joins her. The couple are then blessed over a cup of wine at the conclusion of the ceremony.

All the male guests dressed in black and wore traditional shtreimel hats for the occasion, which traditionally separates the men from the women.

Tens of thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Belz Hasidic Dynasty watch the wedding ceremony of Rabbi Shalom Rokach

Tens of thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Belz Hasidic Dynasty watch the wedding ceremony of Rabbi Shalom Rokach

Spectators: Ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Belz Hasidic Dynasty use binoculars to watch the wedding ceremony

Spectators: Ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Belz Hasidic Dynasty use binoculars to watch the wedding ceremony

Emotional: Hasidim Ultra Orthodox Jews sing and chant during the wedding of the grandson of Beltz Rebbe in Jerusalem, Israel

Emotional: Hasidim Ultra Orthodox Jews sing and chant during the wedding of the grandson of Beltz Rebbe in Jerusalem, Israel

THE ULTRA ORTHODOX JEWISH WEDDING

Traditional Jewish weddings consist of two separate parts, the betrothal ceremony, known as erusin or kiddushin, and the actual wedding ceremony, known as nisuin. 

The first betrothal ceremony sees the groom give a wedding ring to the bride. During this part of the service, the bride is prohibited from talking to all other men.

The wedding ceremony then takes place in a tent known as a chuppah so the couple may get married underneath the sky.

After the ceremony the bride and groom spend an hour together before the bride enters the chuppah and, after gaining her permission, the groom joins her. The couple are then blessed over a cup of wine at the conclusion of the ceremony.

All the male guests dressed in black and wore traditional shtreimel hats for the occasion, which traditionally separates the men from the women.

The bride and members of the family then take part in Mitzvah tantz ritual - where members of the family and honoured rabbis dance in front of her and then with the groom.

The bride stands perfectly still, holding one end of a long sash while rabbis, the groom’s father, her own father or her grandfather holds the other end and dances with her.

The guests then enjoy a traditional wedding meal which lasts until dawn.

It was so full that some guests were forced to use binoculars to catch a glimpse of the service.

After the wedding ceremony, the bride took part in the Mitzvah tantz ritual - where members of the family and honoured rabbis dance in front of her and then with the groom.

The bride stands perfectly still, holding one end of a long sash while rabbis, the groom’s father, her own father or her grandfather holds the other end and dances with her.

Only a few women take part in this section of the celebrations.

Members of the congregation held hands and danced during the ceremony and sweets were handed out to children before the wedding party enjoyed a traditional meal.

Hasidic Jews wear clothes similar to that worn by their ancestors in 18th and 19th century Europe - and this style of attire also helps them to focus on their sense of tradition and spirituality.

The biggest Hasidic communities are found in Israel and the U.S. There also smaller groups in Canada, England, Belgium and Australia.

Their lives revolve around religious study, prayer and family - and theirs is a world without television, films, the internet or secular publications.

The men generally have beards and sidelocks (peyot).

Women tend to wear long skirts and shirts with long sleeves and high necklines as they adhere to strict guidelines of modesty.

After the women get married, they cover their heads with either scarves, hats or wigs (known as 'sheitels').

Matching outfits: Hasidic Jews wear clothes similar to that of their ancestors. They can be seen in traditional shtreimel hats for the wedding ceremony

Matching outfits: Hasidic Jews wear clothes similar to that of their ancestors. They can be seen in traditional shtreimel hats for the wedding ceremony

Awaiting crowds: Some 25,000 Ultra-Orthodox Jews participated in one of the biggest weddings in the past few years

Awaiting crowds: Some 25,000 Ultra-Orthodox Jews participated in one of the biggest weddings in the past few years

Well-wishers: Tens of thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Belz Hasidic Dynasty watch the wedding ceremony of Rabbi Shalom Rokach

Well-wishers: Tens of thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Belz Hasidic Dynasty watch the wedding ceremony of Rabbi Shalom Rokach


 

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