Program will illuminate customs at Jewish weddings

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The upcoming marriage of Cantor Rochelle Helzner’s daughter served as inspiration for Under the Chuppah: The Music of Marriage. The program, to be held on Sunday, May 19 at Rockville’s Tikvat Israel Congregation will capture the spirit of one of the most happy of days.

“My daughter is getting married on July 22, and it was foremost in my mind and I wanted to introduce or remind the congregation what a Jewish wedding experience could look like. I don’t know if they had experienced a full wedding experience and some of the music associated or inspired by the different parts of a Jewish wedding so I wanted to share that with the congregation and community in an entertaining way,” Helzner explained.

The program, open to the public, will divide the wedding experience into sections. Presenters will briefly introduce each section by sharing their own personal experience with that tradition. One presenter, for example, will introduce the chosen’s tish by sharing how he felt when he was accompanied by his friends and family into the room where his future wife waited to have a bedeken (when the veil is placed over her face.) The cantor, accompanied by the Mark Novak Band, will perform music traditionally connected with the tish.


Other sections include kabbalat panim (reception), chuppah (canopy) celebration and sheva brachot (seven blessings).

The multimedia event complete with projections and videos will give the audience the sense of being “under the chuppah.”

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It is her hope that some attendees, once they learn about these traditions, may be inspired to incorporate them into their own wedding or a wedding they might be planning.

“We’re not sermonizing,” says Helzner. “It’s not a workshop. It’s experiencing a wedding through the eyes and memories of others. The music is the major part of it. But it will be enhanced by the personal experiences of these wedding presenters.”


When asked her favorite wedding tradition, Helzner replied, “The mazel tov after the breaking of the glass.”

Under the Chuppah: The Music of Marriage will take place Sunday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Tikvat Israel Congregation. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For more information go to tikvatisrael.org.

– Meredith Jacobs

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