כ' אייר התשפ"ד
28.05.2024

Rubashkin's daughter got married - Mordechai Ben David arrived at the jail

This is how Shalom Rubashkin celebrated the wedding of his daughter inside the prison: a special code to listen to the wedding on the phone - and a special visit by the Chasidic singer Mordechai Ben David • Mitzvah Tanz behind bars

Rubashkin's daughter got married - Mordechai Ben David arrived at the jail
דוד קורן

This is how Shalom Rubashkin celebrated the wedding of his daughter from prison. Reb Velvel Feldman, chairman of "mesamchim" came for a round of encouragement in Oldsville prison in New Jersey during which he cheered and strengthened the Jewish prisoners there. This tour is carried out by the organization headed by him from time to time, and last Sunday he was joined by the Chasidic singer Mordechai Ben David.

Feldman told B'Chadrei Charedim his experiences from beyond the walls: "The Oldsville prison, where there are a lot of orthodox prisoners, is divided into two parts. Division One is called the 'camp' is the easy prison. There is a synagogue at the 'camp' and even a kollel. Seventy percent of the prisoners are orthodox. Then we moved to the wing where federal prisoners are incarcerated. This is a rigid wing with high security arrangements, which those who enter go through rigorous testing and nobody is allowed to enter anything into the jail.

Rabbi Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin is imprisoned in the harsh division: "Rubashkin welcomed us with a reassuring smile, and we immediately began singing and dancing sons which are sung at sheva brachos, since last Thursday was the wedding of the daughter of Rubashkin. Activists and lawyers tried to apply pressure to allow Rubashkin to participate in the wedding of his daughter, but the only thing we could get was a permit, that he can call a family member and be at the wedding telephonically for half an hour."

Rubashkin said that at the appointed time at five in the afternoon, the time when the wedding was to take place, he came to the telephone booth all excited, picked it up and tried to insert the special code he received, enabling the long discussion. Due to his excitement Rubashkin forgot the code, and for many precious minutes Rubashkin tried to recall the number, but to no avail. In desperation he said to the guard that he must return to his room.

On his way back to his room Rubashkin suddenly remembered the code, and after a delay of 8 minutes stolen from the 30 minutes he was allowed, he hastened to contact his family. To his surprise, he discovered that the wedding was delayed by eight minutes, and the phone came just as the groom arrived to cover the bride. Rubashkin had time to bless the bride before she went chuppa, was excited to hear the old tune of the Baal Tanya Chabad as is custom to sing at Chabad weddings, and managed to attend the chuppa by telephone and hear all the brachos. His thirty minutes ended when the chuppa ended and the last words he heard before the call was cut off were: "Mazel Tov".

Mordechai Ben David and other activists broke into song and dance. One of them took out a gartel for the mitzvah tanz and Rubashkin enjoyed himself, although it is not customary to hold a mitzvah tanz in Chabad

"We came to encourage and we left encouraged," said Reb Velvel Feldman at the end of the visit.
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