In a procession, they were led one by one from the hotel lobby of the Sheraton hotel in Parsippany, NJ. Surrounded by family, friends and supporters of Chabad they merged onto the grand plaza where eleven wedding canopies awaited them. In the background one could hear the traditional moving and emotional nigguin of daled bavos being sung by all those present.
This sight took place last Sunday at the opening of the 31st annual gala dinner of “Bris Avrohom” under the directorship of Rabbi Mordechai and Sternie Kanelsky. Headquartered in Hillside, NJ, “Bris Avrohom” has seen major expansion in last number of years in NJ with three more branches opening in Jersey City, Fair Lawn and Old Bridge.
At three thirty in the afternoon the hotel lobby became filled to capacity with community members, friends, acquaintances, shluchim of the Rebbe and of course major public figures from across NJ, all eager to participate in this momentous event.
In one of the hotel halls, eleven couples were signing their marriage document with the help of Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger – the guest of honor for the event. While in front of the hotel final preparations were being put into place for the traditional chuppa ceremony for the 25th year in a row.
At five o’clock, the assembled crowd took to the grand plaza where Rabbi Yossi Kanelsky director of “Bris Arohom” in Old Bridge, NJ, invited the grooms and the brides together with their escorts to make their way to the Chuppa ceremony.
After the reading of the Rebbe’s letter, they were officially welcomed by Chazan Rabbi Berel Zaltzman who sang Mi Adir. Rabbi Kanelsky then blessed the couples with words of inspiration as Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger recited the sheva brachos.
As the glasses broke one after another, excitement and elation quickly spread around as circle after circle was made with the accompaning music.
“Imagine the excitement of one chuppa doubled eleven times – it feels as if these are my daughters,” says Rebbetzin Kanelsky who has been a close friend to the brides.
The crowd then descended into the main ballroom where the festive meal began.
Opening the evening was the Mayor of New Jersey, the mayors of the districts in NJ and the president of the Bris Avrohom organization. All expressed praise for the Shluchim and the amazing work they do for Jewish communal life throughout NJ.
Shliach Rabbi Mordechai Kanlesky gave thanks and recognition to all the supporters who made this possible. “Without you this could never have taken place,” he said. “31 years ago I received a bracha from the Rebbe to do this shlichus and although there have been some difficulties, the results are there for all to see.”
A former bride of Bris Avrohom then graced the evening by expressing thanks to the shluchim. “The change you have made in our lives is the story of one of 669 others,” she said.
The last speaker was the guest of honor, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger. He spoke of the shluchim of the Rebbe and the holy work they do. The crowd was left mesmerized as he recounted stories that have occurred to shluchim around the world.
At 9 o’clock the crowd joined together on the dance floor as they came to celebrate in this simcha and to thank the shluchim for all they have done for them. Rabbi Mordechai Kanlesky then wished everyone “Mazel tov!” and said, “This is all with thanks and gratitude to the Rebbe.”
Bris Avrohom is directed by Shluchim, Rabbi Mordechai and Shterni Kanlesky. They are joined by fellow shluchim, Rabbi Berel and Leah Zaltzman, Rabbi Boruch and Krana Lepkivker, Rabbi Dovid and Sara Wilansky, Rabbi Mendel and Elka Zaltzman, Rabbi Yossi and Dina Kanlesky and Rabbi Avremi and Chaya Kanlesky.