Jewish Ceremonies  


This page includes several documents and photos from Jewish weddings and one photo of a Bar Mitzva which took place in Lunna before the Second World War.

Bar Mitzva

Bar Mitzva of Israel, son of Aaron and Golda Friedman (Lunna, ca. 1928)
From the collection of Liba Friedman - Ahuva Glick

According to the Jewish tradition, before the wedding took place, an engagement contract was arranged between the sides of the groom and the bride. The document included betrothal terms (in Hebrew: "Tenaim") that needed to be satisfied before the wedding ceremony. Below are such two betrothal terms documents:

The first contract was agreed upon between Reb Simcha ben Shraga, for his son - the groom Mr. Israel Yisser [Yedwab] from Lunna, and Reb Abraham Yitzchak ben Nachman, for his daughter - the bride Ms. Beile-Leah from Berestovitsa. The engagement contract was signed on February 18, 1896 and the wedding took place on May 21, 1896 in Berestovitsa (see note 1).

The second contract was agreed upon between Reb Binyamim ben Dov, for his son - the groom Mr. Tzvi Janowski, and Reb Abraham Tzvi ben Shmuel, for his daughter - the bride Ms. Raszke-Leah Sorin. The engagement contract was signed on June 6, 1907 and the wedding took place on October 9, 1907 in Lunna.


Engagement contract between the groom Israel Yisser, son of Reb Simcha Yedwab from Lunna and the bride Beile Leah, daughter of Reb Yitzchak from Berestovitsa (Feb. 18, 1896)
For Hebrew deciphering and English translation click engagement contract.



Engagement contract between the groom Tzvi Janowski, son of Reb Binyamin and the bride Raszke-Leah Sorin, daughter of Reb Abraham Tzvi (Lunna, June 6, 1907)  

Before their wedding as part of their dowry, the brides-to-be used to prepare embroidery of their initials monogram on various items such as: pillow and bed covers as well as towels and Challah covers for Shabbat. Below is a Challah cover for Shabbat with an embroidered monogram G K prepared by Golda Klebansky before her marriage with Aaron Friedman. The wedding took place around 1910. After the wedding Israel-Arie Friedman and his wife Shayne-Chana, Aaron's parents, gave the book "טהרת ישראל" (Jewish Family Purity) as a present to their daughter-in-law Golda (Klebansky) Friedman. The book by Rabbi Israel Meir Ha'Cohen from Radin, known as "Ha'Chafetz Chaim", was published in 1904 in Pietrikov. It includes principles for Jewish family purity, such as laws concerning the Mikveh. The book "טהרת ישראל" and the Challah-cover for Shabbat were kept by the family from generation to generation and is now in the possession of the Glick family


Challah cover for Shabbat with monogram G K (Golda Klebansky) on both sides  



Wedding photo of Golda (Klebansky) and Aaron Friedman (The wedding took place in Grodno)  


The front page of the book "טהרת ישראל" (Jewish Family Purity) by Rabbi Israel Meir Ha'Cohen, "Ha'Chafetz Chaim" from Radin, published in 1904 in Pietrikov  



Present from Israel-Arie and Shayne-Chana Friedman to the their daughter-in-law Golda  

The wedding of the groom Shmuel-Haim, son of Dov Janowski, and the bride Freidke, daughter of Moshe Janowski, took place in Lunna around 1883. Dov Janowski gave his son Shmuel-Haim "Siddur Rachel" as a wedding gift. This siddur included daily and Shabbat prayers and a special a prayer for the well being of the Tsar Alexander the Third (18451894), his wife Maria Teadorovna and their son Nikolai Alexanderowicz. The Siddur was published in Warsaw in 1880. Shmuel-Haim gave the "Siddur Rachel" to his son Shepsl-Shabtai Janowski and it is currently in the possession of Shepsl's older son Shmuel-Moshe Janowski.


Dedication of "Siddur Rachel" to Shmuel- Haim, son of Dov Janowski  


The front page of "Siddur Rachel" (published in Warsaw, 1880)



A prayer for the well being of the Tsar Alexander the Third, his wife Maria Teadorovna and their son Nikolai Alexanderowiczy    


The wedding of Yitzchak Meir, son of Shmuel Yudah Gisser, and Mashka, daughter of Abraham Swotinsky, took place in Lunna in August 10, 1906. The original Ketuba (wedding contract stating the husband's obligations to his wife) was kept by their granddaughter Nancy Meiselman. A copy was sent by Linda Morzillo (a Gisser's relative by marriage) and is posted below. The two witnesses were: Aaron son of Mordechai Katz and Shmariah son of Israel [?]. In 1909 the couple and their son Fishel (Philip) came to the US. In the US Yitzchak Meir was known as Isador Gisser and Mashke was known as Martha. A notary approval of the Ketuba was executed in Brooklyn, NY on April 19, 1941.


Ketuba of the bridegroom Yitzchak Meir, son of Shmuel Yudah (Isador Gisser) and the bride Mashka, daughter of Abraham Swotinsky (Lunna, 1906)  



Letter of approval of the Ketuba (New York, 1941)  

Usually the weddings took place on Fridays at the homes of one of the couple's parents. Liza (Welbel) Shwetz, a former Lunna resident, recalls the wedding the bride Fridl Abin (Liza's cousin) with the groom Yaakov Maisel, the chairman of the Keren Ha'Kayemet (Jewish National Fund) in Lunna, which took place in 1925 (at that time Liza was 11 yeas old). The wedding ceremony took place on Friday afternoon close to the old synagogue; in the evening the guests were invited to special ceremonial supper. On Shabbat they all went to the "shul" (synagogue) following which there was a special Shabbat dinner and a party that ended by the early morning of Sunday. Liza Shwetz also recalls that a charitable society "Hachnasat Kalla" was active in Lunna. The society provided the dowry for poor brides; a group of women used to collect donations from relatively well established families for arranging the wedding ceremonies of poor brides who resided mainly in the Shulhof (behind the synagogue).

Eliezer Eisenshmidt, a former Lunna resident, remembers the wedding ceremony of the groom Chaykel, son of Sarah-Reizel and Berl der Furman (the Teamster) with the bride who was the daughter of the grave digger (name is unknown). The wedding took place on Friday sometime in the summer of the early 1930s. Chaykel, the groom, took the cart and horse of his father Berl and went to bring Rabbi Rotberg who was vacationing in Zaleski forest. Rabbi Rotberg arranged the Chuppa (wedding canopy) and then returned to Zaleski before the beginning of Shabbat. The bride's parents were poor and their neighbors assisted in arranging the wedding party which was simple and modest.

Mr. Eisenshmidt also recalls that guests invited to weddings in Lunna used to buy wedding greeting cards which included the symbol of the Keren Ha'Kayemet and pictures of the Hebrew gymnasium "Hertzeliya" in Tel Aviv and of Hertzl; the guests added in their handwriting special wishes for the groom and the bride. Mr. Eisenshmidt's parents - Yehoshua Eisenshmidt and Ester nee Welbel - kept at their home in Lunna such greeting cards received on their wedding day which had taken place in 1918. In September 1941 when the Jews of Lunna were forced by the Nazis to leave their houses in Lunna and to move into the Wola ghetto, the Eisenshmidts left these greeting cards at their house in Lunna. Unfortunately, we have no such cards in our possession. However, we do have several invitations and photos from weddings that took place in Lunna.


Invitation to the wedding of Devorah Arkin with Yaakov Abin (Lunna, April 14, 1903)
From the collection of Yael (Abin) Ponorov



Weddings in the Zalutzki family (ca. 1920s)
From the collection of Sasha Zalutzki

The wedding of the groom Eli (Elias) Shalachman and the bride Sarah Yogiel took place on Friday, July 31, 1925. Eli and Sarah grew up in Lunna and were childhood friends. As they grew older, they became more and more fond of each other. As teenagers, they went to dances together and often on picnics. On Friday, July 31, 1925, they were married at the home of Sarah's mother - Basha Yogiel (Sarah's father- Zimel Yogiel had died in 1917). Over 200 people attended the garden wedding. The ceremony was performed by Elias' father, Dob-Ber Shalachman, and Sarah's brother-in-law, Moshe Galinski.
The information about the wedding of Eli (Elias) Shalachman and Sarah Yogiel appears in the booklet "Mishpachti" ("My Family") written by Jason Gaber, a grandson of Sarah and Elias Shalachman (1973)


Sarah Yogiel and Elias just prior their wedding (Lunna, 1925)  



Invitation to the wedding of Sarah Yogiel and Elias Salachaman (Lunna, 1925)  

Miriam (Welbel) Rutenberg, a former Lunna resident, recalls the wedding of her sister Rachel Welbel with Mordechai Kuperfenig. Miriam's recollections appear in a booklet "Our Miriam is 90 years old", published by the family (in Hebrew, 2000) and are posted below:

"In 1923 my sister Rachel Welbel graduated high-school in Bialystok and returned to Lunna. Rachel was a friend of Mordechai ("Motke") Kuperfenig who returned to Lunna after graduating a Polish high-school in Grodno. After several years of staying in Lunna and working with his parents at their saw ( lumber) mill business, Motke decided to study chemistry at a university in France (Jews were not allowed to study at universities in Poland). My parents, Elka and Yaakov Welbel, felt quite offended and disappointed by Motke's plans as they had no doubts that their daughter Rachel and would marry Motke. Rachel then moved to Bialystok and stayed with her uncle and aunt. However, after several months Motke came to Bialysto and met Rachel; they went to a Rabbi in Bialystok who arranged a wedding canopy ceremony for the couple. Rachel's family relatives including her two sisters, Miriam and Liza, who were also living in Bialystok at that time, were all surprised and happy with the good news that the couple had just been married. However, they did not know how their parents in Lunna would accept this surprising act. Miriam and Liza called home and asked their mother to come to Bialystok; they made her feel that they had sort of a problem with the landlady from whom they rented a room. When Elka Welbel came to Bialystok, she was surprised but happy with the good news. Then they all returned to Lunna and informed Yaakov Welbel who was also happy. Elka and Yaakov Welbel, Rachel's parents, arranged a big garden party at their home, on Shabbat, sixth of Shevat 1928. After the wedding Rachel and Motke Kuperfenig remained in Lunna and lived close to Rachel's parents. They both perished in the Holocaust."

The wedding ceremony of Elka Pluskalowski and Shmuel Jarniewski took place on Lag Ba'Omer 1939, several months before the outbreak of the Second World War. Elka (Pluskalowski) Jarniewski perished in the Holocaust. Her husband Shmuel Jarniewski survived the Holocaust. After the war he moved to Canada and established a family in Canada.


Invitation to the wedding party of Rachel (Welbel) and Mordechai Kuperfenig (Lunna, 1928)
From the collection of Miriam (Welbel) Rutenberg



Invitation to the wedding of Elka Pluskalowski and Shmuel Jarniewski (Lunna, 1939)
From the collection of Libe (Friedman) Glick


Note 1: Berestovitsa was located in Grodno district, twenty kilometers west towards Wolkowysk and about fifty kilometers southwest of Lunna. >back


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Compiled by Ruth Marcus & Aliza Yonovsky Created May 2007
Updated by rLb, March 2020
Copyright 2007 Ruth Marcus

All the photos are presented by courtesy of the families and are not allowed to be reproduced without their permission.

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