Phnom Penh – At first glance, Irina and Vadim Mitropolitansky’s wedding seemed like so many other matrimonial celebrations: the bride wore white, the hall was awash in decorative blooms and guests were swept up by joyous music as they danced with the new couple. But the Mitropolitansky’s wedding may have earned a place in the history books as the first Orthodox Jewish wedding celebrated in Cambodia.
The bride lives in Phnom Penh, Camobia’s capital city, and has been affiliated with the local Chabad shluchim for several years, reported Chabad.org. The groom is an Israeli currently living in Bangkok.
The two decided to hold their wedding at the newly constructed Chabad center in Cambodia, an eight story building that houses a synagogue, kitchen, restaurant, mikvah, preschool and a recently completed social hall that can accommodate 120 guests. Local friends, relatives and the Chabad families from Bangkok and Cambodia all gathered in Phnom Penh for the rooftop wedding and a keyboard player was flown in from Israel for the festivities.
The bride and groom were escorted to the chupah, against the backdrop of a slowly setting sun, by the Chabad shluchim to Bangkok and Cambodia.
“In times of joy as well as sadness, community takes the place of family in this part of the world, where most Jews are here without family,” said Rabbi Bentzion Butman, director of Chabad of Cambodia.
Putting together a kosher wedding in a country that has no kosher stores or conveniences was no small challenge, but the wedding featured elegant centerpieces and strictly kosher desserts, including handmade rugelach and heart shaped linzer tarts.
Rabbi Boruch and Mushka Hecht, directors of Chabad of Bangkok, have been in close contact with the couple, working with them on the fundamentals of establishing a Jewish home. The Hechts flew to Phnom Penh with their children to take part in the wedding.
Addressing the guests, Rabbi Butman noted that the wedding took place on the same day that he and his wife were celebrating their tenth anniversary.
“They could not have given us a better gift than to be a part of a wedding of two Jewish people who will be building a beautiful home based on the foundation of Torah and Judaism,” said Rabbi Butman.