Jerusalem – Belzer Chassidim and Litvish Rabbonim Launch Wedding Plans

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    Jerusalem – After working on the plan for close to a year, Belzer askanim have announced that they are launching their “Chassaneh Plan” which is calculated to save each family up to $9,000 in wedding expenses for their child.

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    The plan will have three parts. The first involves the Kehila Gemach giving a $25,000 loan to each mechutan with easy payback installments. The second part involves the kehila determining a list of new takanos to reduce wedding costs which will apply to everyone. The third part will use joint purchase power to reduce wedding and appliance costs.

    The community has already given out a questionnaire to parents on the verge of marrying their children asking them what costs are superfluous and what they would prefer to cut down on. As soon as the questionnaires are returned, a committee will sit over them and decide on a list of takanos that will apply to all Belz chassidim.

    One decision which the community has already taken is to put an end to lavish Shabbos Ufrufs which include the extended family. From now on, only the close family will celebrate the occasion with the chosson, which might entail a savings of thousands of dollars.

    New takanos are expected to affect the number of invitations a family can send out for the wedding and sheva brochos, and the presents which each side gives the engaged couple and other family members.

    The chassidus has already come to an agreement with a number of service and merchandise suppliers concerning getting lower prices for its members at the same quality. For instance, streimel makers have committed themselves to not charge over $1,400 for a new streimel.

    Initially, parents can choose between getting the loan or sharing in the joint purchases. In the latter case, the Gemach loan will go straight to the suppliers. Within two years, the chassidus hopes to make both options available to families.

    Rav Yoshua Pinik, who is the spiritual dean of Beis Malka and served as the “Purim Rav” during the Purim tish, referred to the difficult situation to marry off children during his Purim drasha. “The gemora tells us that ‘a person should sell everything he has to marry his daughter to a talmid chachom. We have reached the point today that a person really does have to sell everything he owns to marry off his children.”

    The marriage crisis, if anything, is even worse than in the chassidish world. Litvish rabbonim have not been sitting on their laurels in the face of the mounting crisis to marry off children and provide them with homes.

    A group of rabbonim who have been seeking solutions for years has now come up with the general lines of a plan that will fit the Litvish marriage patterns.

    Rav Yehuda Silman, Rav Chizkiyahu Mishkovsky, Rav Sariel Rosenberg (Rav Nissan Karelitz’s son-in-law), Rav Gavriel Yosef Levi, the rosh yeshiva of Beer HaTorah and founder of the Gemach Merkazi, Rav Yehuda Kook, rosh kolel of Zichron Chai in Bnei Brak, and Moetzes Gedolei Torah secretary Rav Avraham Rubinstein, have been working on a plan to put an end to the situation wherein parents undertake elephantine debts to marry off their children and provide a home over their heads.

    The plan suggests a roof of no more than $45,000 from the girl’s side and $25,000 from the boy’s side to make a down installment on an apartment.

    To ensure that this plan is accepted as the consensus, the rabbonim are requesting a commitment from 10,000 families who will abide by it. Since this comprises approximately half the Litvish bnei Torah families, they believe this would ensure compliance from the other half.

    Roshei kolel were informed of the plan and asked to publicize it among the avreichim learning in their kolels with marriage age children.

    The plan is also talking about a limit of furniture and appliance expenses. Those who abide by the plan will be offered assistance for wedding expenses from gvirim and will receive an up front loan from a charity committee if needed.

    Rav Steinman has approved of the plan as “l’chatchila mamash”. He also urges the organizers to locate apartments whose cost will be close to the $70,000 which the parents will provide.

    The rabbonim are already on the lookout for such apartments. “We’re combing the country trying to find cheap apartments in areas appropriate for the chareidi community,” says Rav Kook. “The Acco municipality promised us 2,000 housing units, and in Haifa, we found 300 very cheap apartments with the help of a local realtor. It’s vital that the apartment cost be low, so the couple don’t have to take upon themselves heavy debts and mortgage payments.”


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    83 Comments
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    r u kidding
    r u kidding
    15 years ago

    “The plan suggests a roof of no more than $45,000 from the girl’s side and $25,000 from the boy’s side to make a down installment on an apartment.” —— and this commitment is before you pay for the wedding expenses, clothing, gifts? Where is a family suppose to come up with $45 grand or $25 grand–besides the other wedding expenses?

    Really?
    Really?
    15 years ago

    Kudos to them … but they are not first, and not even second

    satmar monroe – and its new affiliation with the rosel castle (wedding hall) in williamsburg brooklyn, save u a fortune

    and the viznitz wedding hall & plan in monsey NY – saves over 10K per mechuten.

    kein yirbuu …. all kehilos should follow suit

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    Belz is always the first to come out with graet plans…

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    This is a good start but the ignores the most obvious issues. First, why does the girl’s family have to pay nearly TWICE the amount as the bochur’s family? That makes no sense. Both should contribute equally or in accordance to their means.

    Secondly, the rabbonim should probably get 2/3 or more of these bochurim out of full time attendance atkolels and yeshivas. There should be NO Chassanehs allowed unless the mechutan has a parnassah (aka “a job”).

    esther
    esther
    15 years ago

    $45,000?!!!! that’s still a huge amount.many of us can not help our children to that extent.why do the kids need to expect that so much is coming to them?what is wrong with starting out married life more simply and buying as you go along with your own money.this situation has become very warped.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    Great to be addressing this problem, but isn’t 25,000 for a wedding still a huge amount of money? And why do the parents have to buy the apartment? Why don’t the kids work, pay rent, and save up to buy a home?

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    Something is very wrong when one article today talks about all the families and yeshivas that can only afford bread and water, and another article about trying to bring the costs of weddings down to a mere $25,000 and $1,400 for hat. It makes one wonder about priorities. You can have a wedding for $1,000 if you aren’t trying to keep up with the neighbors.

    The elephant in the room
    The elephant in the room
    15 years ago

    the problem is that the majority of chareidy men in eretz yisroel are unemployed, don’t make a living, and still expect to raise a family and marry off their children as their parents (who worked very hard and were not less “chushuv”) did in the US or Europe. The only way things will change if there is a change in the “system”. we need better education, vocational opportunities , and a shift in outlook. what happened to the sechel hayoshor of the yesteryear. if we dont change, it will get worse, and we will end up with socialism, regulating prices , buying in bulk, etc… its not the Torah way and reduces the tzelem elokim of individuality….

    Charles Hall
    Charles Hall
    15 years ago

    My wife and I were married just over 4 years ago. The total cost of our wedding and reception, with about 140 guests at the seudah, was approximately $11,000. And we would not have change anything about it.

    Yehuda
    Yehuda
    15 years ago

    Why don’t the new couple rent & when they have money they can purchase with a mortagage. This is what many of us did when we got married. We borrowed money for a down payment & took out a mortagage for the rest. To ask a parent to put down even $25000 besides other wedding expenses is asking a lot since B’H there are other kids to marry off. This whole business of buying an apartment has to stop otherwise there will be a real shidduch crisis. Parents who have no money are in hock & especially with the economy of today it is very hard for parents to even meet the costs of a simple wedding.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    thank you very much.

    but please dont force it down our throuths

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    this sounds like an Obama plan, you just do nothing and we will take care of you. we will rob you from you independence.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    I just do not get it. In E”Y they do not work like us. How can they afford these amounts? Here in USA people work and they do not give those amounts . How can people live like that?

    Ish Pashut
    Ish Pashut
    15 years ago

    I have a simple answer to this crisis: It is time to send our children off to WORK after they get married so they can pay for their own down payment and mortgages on their houses.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    Great in the right direction. Just for information, Satmar Williamsburgh opened the first affordable wedding hall in Willi for nearly half price than the average catering halls.
    Satmar in Williamsburgh also opened the first small simcha halls for a fraction the price of the average simcha halls. accomodating up to 4 simchas per night, those halls saved millions of yiddish gelt in the past, and will do so in the future.
    Satmar rebbe Reb Zalmen Leib has ordered the wedding hall be renovated, and added another ballroom so now with 2 beautiful halls they can accomodate 2 simchas per night at half price, saving a fortune for each mechiten.

    what a relief
    what a relief
    15 years ago

    my parents never spent so much and neither should anyone else they couldn’t come up up with a better plan

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    This is still insane.

    If you don’t have the money – make a small wedding – or send the chattan and kallah to work – and PAY – and forget about crazy debt loads.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    Let’s step back and examine this issue a bit.

    The fact that parents marry off their children is legendary. That’s expected. But the exorbitant way in which this is done is frightening. The talmid chochom issue has been taken to extremes that are staggering and not the true intent of Chazal. The merit is in being a talmid chochom and (for the girl) marrying one. The issue is not, nor ever was, the engaging in full time learning – kollel. The kollel matter has become a style, unrelated to one’s potential, the feasibility of it, or the future plans for the couple. The husband must pass time in the kollel regardless. It makes sense that a yungerman wishes to begin his married life with a few years of good learning, but the question is whether this is reality.

    I reflect back to my kollel days. Numerous simchas, weddings of friends, relatives, establishing connections with new neighbors, eventually new baby with long nights and little sleep, etc. The potential for true, good learning was severely constrained.

    Now, to do the above at someone else’s expense? Is it fair for my shver to fund my missing kollel because I was up late at chasunas or helping take care of a new baby? These may be nice things to do, but the uncompromised learning that is supposed to be the mehus of kollel, it ain’t.

    It would be just as smart for the community to undertake a project to guide bnei kollel, those who are the “learners” that need to remain within the koslei beis hamedrash for the long term, those who are there for a brief time (specified number of years) before leaving to become a frum, Torahdige baal habos, and those who should pursue their career while maintaining shiurim on a regular basis. This would also maintain parnosos in the community, allowing for our various community causes to be funded from within, without compromising on Torah learning.

    Meanwhile, we have allowed the creation of a monstrosity of “kollel” lifestyle that bankrupts everyone involved, fosters dependence, disallows for the pursuit of careers (Torah she’ain imo melocho), and leaves the community with huge percentages of poverty.

    Just observe every beis hamedrash every morning at shacharis. The floods of yungerleit who need to marry off their children are staggering. This is only partly because of the costs (which the takanos are designed to help). It is also because the trend has been to shy away from becoming baalei batim and earning money (gadol hanehene mi’yegiya kapo) while hiding out behind the shtender and gemora. It is unacceptable that every mechutan from Eretz Yisroel must spend time in America schnorring for months to make his children’s weddings. This also raises the question whether such tzedokos are truly “hachnosas kallah”.

    The takanos are a great idea. But I think the other issue I described above is just as important. Anyone listening?

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    This is a joke.

    Unless we go back to the way it really was in the Jewish world – where the men had to work and save for a wedding and gmachs were only for the truly destitute orphans – anything tried won’t work.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    His name is Fink, not Pinik.

    FRIMET
    FRIMET
    15 years ago

    #12 ..SO GO AHEAD AND MAKE WEDDINF OR LESS…TELL US THE DETAILS AND WE’LL FOLLOW..

    MP
    MP
    15 years ago

    Kudos to belz and all the other innovators.

    Spending on a newly married couple’s future (like buying an appt) is way more important then spending on the wedding, aufruf and sheva brachos.

    My wedding night was $30k and all other parties could probably double that.

    I would rather my parents married me off in a local shul and gave us the 60k
    towards a mortgage.

    Hall,music,singer , badchan and all the rest is a waste of time and money. Most people attend weddings because they have to. Its time to end this torture. No one enjoys staying up till the wee hours of the night (including the chusun and Kallah). I was recently at a mitzvah tanz at 3 in morning. 90%of the crowed were dosing off, they just had to be there.

    AH YID
    AH YID
    15 years ago

    To all the Gerrer Rebba the Lev Simcha made such takonos back in the 80s he also kept the price in a sodik dowm by saying he will wear a hat on shabbos so for all that are saying wow belz satmer etc check your facts out and see

    Gerrer Chaim Says
    Gerrer Chaim Says
    15 years ago

    Yeah #35 . Gerrer chasidim have had a gmach that lends millions to both sides, including Americans. And the Gerrer wedding plans save even more. Wow a $1400 limit on a shtreimel. I bought my son a top model spodek for $1000. And his taleisim, 2 of them, cost $50 each. Aww they aren’t turkish so they’re “only” pure wool and no shatnez. Oh well he’ll have to live with that. Thank you so much Belz and Litvaks for finally, after 30 years, for concuring with the Gerrer Rebbe and placing limits.

    HUH
    HUH
    15 years ago

    how does one become a member of the belzer askonims?

    YW CPA
    YW CPA
    15 years ago

    Can someone explain me why the hell every couple needs to buy an apartment in Israel. Now, I hope my fellow blogers will not try selling me the old bull$%^& that there is no rentals in Israel because it’s false 1. there is rentals available 2. even if there is a shortage it’s because everybody buys so investors don’t see it as a good rental market which would be changed overnight if people will stop buying. Imagine if the belzer rabbi would forbid to buy an apartment Jerusalem would get flooded with investors to buy the apartments and rent it to those couples. If it would be a rich community I wouldn’t say anything but to regularly collect from all around the world to buy apartments for those spoiled rotten brads that’s unheard of and it must STOP

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    Create a $1,000 Wedding…C’mon it can be done…no frills…Many more people will marry

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    What is wrong with a baseball hat for 3 dollars at a cheap store?

    Long Island Bubby
    Long Island Bubby
    15 years ago

    It was said that the Gerrer Rebbi forbids young couples from buying apartments for the first 4/5 years of marriage. After, when the husband has stopped learning and has started working and their family has grown, then and only then can the young couple buy. I also believe there is a dollar limit on what they can spend. The young couples have had to move out of Jerusalem, too expensive, and to communities in outlying areas. It sounds like the “life” we lived years ago.

    We lived in an apartment, husband and wife worked, once money was saved up we then bought a house. Mom and Dad did not finance our house or our lifestyle. We bought what we could afford and if we couldn’t afford it, we did not buy it.

    I always felt, if you feel you are old enough to make a committment to marriage, then you are old enough to make a committment to support yourself and your family. When was this value lost? And why has it become acceptable in our community to expect SOMEONE ELSE to fund ones lifestyle?

    The Truth
    The Truth
    15 years ago

    Sorry to bust everyones bubble, but wedding takonos have been issued by rabbonim since the 1800 or even previously.
    Obviously Yidden everywhere (and all types) dont like to listen to them and think they are above it.

    Get Real!!!
    Get Real!!!
    15 years ago

    Average 35,000 per kid on apartment plus other expenses, not counting “suppoert”, means about 50,000 per child for 10 or more children means $500,000 on wedding expenses are the mnimum expected.
    This is a takana? It’s a gzeira ra!

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    how about lifting people out of poverty like putting more emphasis on teaching newlyweds a trade and do away with kollel and they should really start at a much younger age (college) this way they wont have a problem marrying off there children

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    So what happens to the parents who don’t have $25,000 – 50,000 to marry off each child. Are those children unmarriagable? Can the children of poor families only marry other poor children? Maybe to spread the burden, the Rabbis should say the rich can only marry the poor and vice versa.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    Both the Gerer and Belz have lost track with reality on the costs of chassanahs…only the Satmer do it with any degree of cost awareness…In KJ, there are no weddings costing more than $2500.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    $1400.00 for a hat……Insane. You call this a takana…….The chassidi are nuts!!!!!

    I have a great Idea
    I have a great Idea
    15 years ago

    I asked my father why hes struggling he said because he needs to marry off my sister and is putting away money for the next 7 years because this is the excepted minimum in lakewood by all these shtarke buchrim.

    he said the excepted inimum is 1000.00 a month.

    if u do the math its 84,000 dollars which he just spent on their basement apt and supported a stranger with.

    I asked him why he wont scratch together enough money to pay a minimal down payment and then let the couple pay a little towards the mortgage?
    he said he doesnt have the money on hand – then you go to a lending gemach and pay THEM the monthly payments instead of a landlord.

    the couple will have a house in 10 yrs and have equity. thats real value.

    isrealis have this right! give the kids something that they wll have to actually build a family with and not be at a landlords mercy of raising rent every time the contract is renewed.

    i am in no way agreeing that the girls side should pay more! the parents should share the burden equally. why are we punishing parents for having daughters?!

    in addition, they are making such a big deal about CZs and no real diamonds in the rings, the streimlich sound just as expensive – PETA elert!!!!! lol
    they make beautiful fake ones as well,
    lets treat both the chosson and the kallah equally and as adults. life will be full of compromises – lets begin…

    Miss Williamsburg
    Miss Williamsburg
    15 years ago

    I don’t understand about the part that requires the girl’s side to pay double than the boy’s side.
    In the Chassidishe world it’s 50/50. Another reason why in the Litvish world there are so many older girls.

    how about this Takana
    how about this Takana
    15 years ago

    A new takana to require jobs so you will have money to pay for your own weddings

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    The litvashe system has to be in eretz yisroel like the chasideshe system .go 50 50. the rosh hayesivos themselves should also stick to the same code. then you may succeed. the rich will stay with the rich and the poor will stay with the por. the its posssible the kids will be a third pary in helping ( thepoor) to pick up part of the tab .(maybe the mortgage) 6months is given when all have to adhere to the rules. so if you think tou have the best bochur, hurry up and and find someoene who will pay you for your metzia. even this plan is full of holes.TAKANA SHEHTZIBUR LO YACHOL LAMOD BO

    shlomo zalman
    shlomo zalman
    15 years ago

    The litvishe will not follow their gedolim because they never do. Besides that, despite Rav Shteinman’s greatness, this takanah that he supports is ridiculous, only the moneyed people who are close to him can afford his suggestion. At least among the litvishe, the system has already collapsed because of the severe myopia of the “kollel or bust” pseudo-hashkafah that their rabbonim have shoved down their throats.

    FedupwithBrooklyn
    FedupwithBrooklyn
    15 years ago

    The belzer will do it far sooner than the litivishe. Does anyone remember when a promininet organziation banned vorts?

    HA HA these gedaylim show up at every vort where money men baalei simcha are present. THe belzer on the other hand are a tightnit group, a kehillah. The term kehillah has been destroyed entirely among the non-Chassidishe.

    Kudos to the Belzer Rebbe shlita for being there at the forefront to help his chassidim.

    Buchur
    Buchur
    15 years ago

    I believe this started off to do what Satmar is doing, but it got out of hand like the “Bail Out” here.

    I know things are expensive.

    But, the chasina costs need to be halved, at least.
    The “expected gifts” need to be done away with.

    I know a man, my friend’s father, who is still making gemach payments on 4 chasinas!!!!

    He works 2 full-time jobs. One, the higher-paying one, is just to pay off chasinas.
    He has to live on the second one.

    This has gotten way out of line.

    Though I am not Satmar, and not a fan of Aharon from KJ, his idea of going to CZ’s is a good idea. I know most do not like that idea, but it is sensible.
    and, those “chosson Shas” expectations need to go. Nothing wrong with a cheap, small shas. If the chosson wants a big, fancy one, let him earn the money. Same for the Shilchan Urich and Tir.

    We can live with the smaller versions until WE can pay for the big ones.
    We can wear a Reigen Shtreimel, until WE can pay for a nicer one.
    We can RENT a smaller apt, until WE can pay for a house or larger one.
    We can get away with 1 bekeshe and 1 reshvulke, 1 reigen shtreimel, and a pair of Shabbos kurtz hoisen.
    Suits we had before… they did not disappear. Overcoats we have, and raincoats we have. Why should our shver pay for them?

    Trust me, is we each purchased our own clothing, we would be much more careful on the costs.

    Yes, let the shver buy us a nice Tallis and a nice pair of Rabbeini Tam Tefillin. Let us buy our own seforim and clothing.

    The same for our Kallahs. Do they NEED that diamond? go CZ
    Do they NEED that watch… neither of us need one.
    I can tell time from my cell phone.
    We do not need those earrings!
    NOBODY needs a 4-pc band. A 1-man band for 3 hours is enough.

    It is our, the chosson and kallah’s faults, that our parents are near bankruptcy.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    I have a subscription to “kol ha-olum kulo”. It shows dozens of photos weekly of rebishe chasanas that cost lots of money.most the small rebele’s are just typical grocery store owners;the only difference is that they get chasidim to support to support their exhorbatant lifestyle.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    15 years ago

    I grew up (and still am) Modern orthodox. Yet even I had the sense to be disgusted by the ostentaitiousness of the weddings and other simchas I saw. I married the daughter of a wealthy surgeon and, guess what? We had our wedding in a yehiva hall on the gym floor, had one hot dish (maybe two?), and a 1-man band. The engagement ring cost me less than $80 because that was all I could afford.

    >The only way things will change if there is a change in the “system”. < No. the only way wil lbe when everyday folks grow a pair and do the right thing by standing up to this nonsense.

    alpidarkomama
    alpidarkomama
    14 years ago

    I vote for paying for a wedding in cash, living within your means, staying out of debt, and living modestly in all regards. I personally think diamonds are silly and meaningless. A plain gold band on the other hand… I would have been horrified to saddle my parents with a $25K debt. My only reaction is a dropped jaw. The world has gone mad. I feel ill.