Gerer Wedding Stops Traffic in Capital

Masses of people thronged to Jerusalem Tuesday to attend the wedding of the Gerer rebbe's youngest son, in what Haredi and non-Haredi commentators alike declared an impressive show of strength by Rabbi Ya'akov Aryeh Alter and the sect he heads.

The area around Bar-Ilan Street was closed to traffic at 4 P.M. to accommodate the crowds, causing serious traffic jams in the area. The ceremony itself took place on a rooftop, so that it would be easier for the people standing in the streets below to see.

The wedding was attended by people from across the ultra-Orthodox spectrum, with the guests coming not only from other Hasidic sects, but also from the non-Hasidic ("Lithuanian") branch of Haredi Judaism.

The Gerer sect has laid down strict rules against ostentatious weddings, so the affair more closely resembled an ordinary wedding than do marriages by many prominent members of other Hasidic sects.

Moreover, since the Gerer rebbes - unlike those of other Hasidic sects - have traditionally married within the sect, the bride was also a Gerer Hasid. Nevertheless, the event was reminiscent in many ways of a royal wedding of old.