【N.J】 6 couples celebrate long-awaited weddings in their Jewish faith – New Jersey News

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Six Jewish couples who were married in civil ceremonies decades ago in the former Soviet Union, prior to religious freedom reforms starting the late 1980s, took part in simultaneous weddings Sunday that solemnly observed the rites and procedure under Jewish law.

The weddings were held at a hotel in Parsippany and organized by Rabbi Yossi Kanelsky and his wife, Shterney. Both grew up in the Soviet Union and immigrated separately to the United States, in the early 1970s, where they met in Brooklyn.

For nearly four decades, the Kanelskys have been organizing weddings for fellow immigrants who had not been married under Jewish law.

“It’s the greatest job. It takes a good half a year to prepare,” Yossi Kanelsky said.

Kanelsky said he has been conducting the weddings for immigrants from the former Soviet Union for 37 years with 940 couple participating overall. Five other rabbis also participated on Sunday.

Of the six couples on Sunday, two live in New Jersey, in Livingston and Sayreville, said Shterney Kanelsky.

Two others live in Staten Island, one is from Florida and one from Philadelphia.

“Many, many grandchildren of those couples attended,” she said.

For the couples, it was quite a contrast from what they experienced when getting married in their homeland, her husband said.

“They just went to the city hall in Russia and signed the papers,” he said.

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Ed Murray can be reached at emurray@versuszone.com

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