New York, NY – Unity, Holiness And Sanctity The Triple Themes Of Times Square Wedding


    The chuppah of Hadassa Halperin and J.J. Hecht at the celebration of their wedding at Times Square on May 14, 2017 in New York (Chaim Schvarcz/Levik Hertzel Studios) New York, NY – It is the hub of the Broadway theater district and a tourist attraction that draws visitors from all over the globe, but on Sunday afternoon, the major commercial intersection known as Times Square became the site of something truly unique: a Chasidic Jewish wedding.

    Rabbi Shea Hecht, chairman of the National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education and a prominent Chabad rabbi, said that he had long dreamed of marrying off one of his children in Times Square.

    Rabbi Hecht said that the idea had entered his head as a means of demonstrating the importance of the institution of marriage and as a way of adding an extra measure of holiness to the world.

    The wedding of his son JJ was Rabbi Hecht’s final opportunity to see his dream come true. The 23 year old, who has traveled to both Hong Kong and Russia as a Chabad shaliah and went to the 2014 Sochi Olympics as an official clergy member, was the last of the ten Hecht children to be married. His shidduch came about at the official Chabad menorah lighting this past December in Brooklyn.

    “Every year my wife and I go to the menorah lighting on the first night of Chanukah and this year my wife suggested we go on the second night as well,” said Rabbi Hecht. “While she was there, my wife met an old friend she hadn’t seen in years and when my wife mentioned that our son needed a shidduch, the friend suggested calling her daughter who was a shadchan.”

    While it seemed like a long shot, Mrs. Hecht made the phone call and rest was history. JJ Hecht was soon engaged to 20 year Hadassah Halperin, a Toronto school teacher who was pursuing a degree in education and was also a direct descendant of the Schneerson family.
    Bride Hadassa Halperin (L) and groom J.J. Hecht II (C) celebrate their wedding on Times Square on May 14, 2017 in New York. (Chaim Schvarcz/Levik Hertzel Studios)
    When Rabbi Hecht and his wife Baila met with the Halperins to discuss wedding plans, he cautiously pitched his idea of a Times Square wedding.

    “I asked my mechutan if he would allow me to fulfill my dream and he told me it was really up to the kallah,” Rabbi Hecht told VIN News. “I had JJ present the idea to her and he called me up two hours later to tell me that she was on board with the idea.”
    Hadassa Halperin (L) and J.J. Hecht II (R) celebrate their wedding on Times Square on May 14, 2017 in New York.  / AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR
    Most of the wedding, which was limited to just 300 invited guests, was held at the Edison Hotel located just west of Times Square on 47th Street. Having spent the previous four Sundays in Times Square to gauge the goings on, Rabbi Hecht was thrilled when it started raining heavily at 4:45 PM, clearing out most of the crowds from the area. Conditions had improved by the time a six piece marching band playing festive music accompanied JJ to the blue velvet chupah in Times Square at 5 PM.

    “The place went crazy,” said Rabbi Hecht. “People were stopping to see what was going on. Cars were stopping and drivers were rolling down their windows to watch. And after they brought JJ to the chupah, the marching band went back to the hotel to get the kallah. And then they marched down the block again with her.”
    J.J. Hecht II (C) dancees as he celebrates his wedding on Times Square on May 14, 2017 in New York.  / AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR )
    The music switched from upbeat dance music to the traditional and more somber Alter Rebbe’s niggun for the chupah, with well known singer Shlomo Simcha serving as the chazan during the chupah. Rabbi Chanoch Hecht, the Chabad shaliach in upstate Rhineback and the brother of the chosson, explained the customs of the chupah to the assembled crowds.

    The experience went beyond anything Rabbi Hecht could have ever imagined and added an extra message to the wedding: the importance of unity.

    “There was a moment during the chupah where I looked up and I saw a black girl, who must have been around 15 years old, taking a picture of a Chasidic wedding as people were swaying to the Alter Rebbe’s nigun,” said Rabbi Hecht. “It was such a beautiful moment that I felt like someone should have been taking a picture of her taking a picture. Someone else told me that they saw a Muslim woman taking video of the wedding. It was the kind of achdus and unity that you can only get a wedding which is a tremendous unifier and an incredible opportunity to show that we can all live together.”
    Bride Hadassa Halperin (L) and groom J.J. Hecht II (C) celebrate their Chabad Hassidic wedding on Times Square during Mother's Day on May 14, 2017 in New York. (Chaim Schvarcz/Levik Hertzel Studios)
    After the chupah, the invited guests resumed their celebrations at the Edison Hotel and a day later, Rabbi Hecht is still basking in the glow of the unique celebration.

    “I have always tried to keep my children’s weddings very modest,” said Rabbi Hecht. “But with this wedding being our last I said to my wife that I wanted to do something that would make a statement at some level and send a message to the world.”

    In this case, Rabbi Hecht’s message was threefold: the importance of marriage, holiness and unity.

    “We are here to make the world a holier place, to elevate it and to bring the holiness of G-d into this world,” Rabbi Hecht explained. “What better way to do that than to say the words ‘harei at mekudeshes li’ in Times Square, the crossroads of the world?”
    groom J.J. Hecht II celebrate his wedding on Times Square during Mother's Day on May 14, 2017 in New York. (Chaim Schvarcz/Levik Hertzel Studios)
    A marching band plays as bride Hadassa Halperin arrives to celebrate her wedding on Times Square on May 14, 2017 in New York.
    {NewsPhotosEmbed 123432801}

    Follow VosIzNeias For Breaking News Updates


    1. Why does this story make me sick? I’m happy the couple got married and I wish them the best. It bothers me that people make public relations spectacles of Jewish ceremonies. It bothers me that people lose all sense of פרישות and עם לבדד ישכון. It seems ironic to see people dressed צנוע and conducting a ceremony that is much about צניעות, in a non-צנוע manner. They certainly succeeded in turning the wedding into a ‘tourist attraction’. I’m sure many ערלים took selfies, and had a good laugh and surprise so they can say their tourist visit was unique. And I know that the family will try and spin this to make themselves out to be tzaddikim with only the purest of kabbalistic intentions, but if ever in the future they can be honest with themselves, they’ll have to admit this was just a selfish self-centered self-promotion, a publicity stunt. So these goyim now feel they don’t need to buy tickets to ‘fiddler on the roof’, because they already saw one Jewish wedding show in Times Square. A Jewish wedding isn’t about ‘achdus’ with goyim; think a little about it and you’ll realise it’s exactly the opposite. They exploited the chasuna for their own גאוה and כבוד and שם, hardly שם שמים.

      • Why do people like you make me sick writing a comment without even knowing who the family is and what type of people they are.I know the family I know what their intention was and I’m not willing to write a whole 10 page about the family.but you are dead wrong and everything that you accused him of being

      • As a chassid of the Rebbe, and as someone who attended the wedding yesterday, I can tell you FACTUALLY this was an event blessed by HaShem. And you know what? The families that were courageous to go out there as proud Torah Jews did a kiddish Hashem and served as a LIGHT UNTO NATIONS, literally!

      • But a Jewish wedding is about achdus by yidden . Unfortunately, nyc probably has the most secular non frum Jewish community . While goyim enjoyed it , I am sure many jews enjoyed and marveled at it too . They should the non frum hypsters millenials that being frum is hip too . If it brings a few more jews to get married more al das Moshe vyisroel isn’t it worth it ?

    2. Very Shticky. Hope you’re proud of yourselves. I’m sure many people did tshuva because of your bringing the Schina to time square. As if the schina doesn’t suffer enough.

    3. I didn’t know that the shortage of Chasunah halls were that bad.

      In any case, despite their best intentions, this show in Times Square was distasteful. A Yiddish Chasunah is something of quiet elegance, not some show that is exposed to the world. I’m not condemning the family for doing so but it’s not something any local Posek would advise you to do.

      You wanna sightsee, go to Times Square, you wanna get married, go book a hall.

    4. I was personally at the wedding. It could not have been a greater kiddush Hashem. I answered many onlookers’ questions regarding what was going on, and they were incredibly respectful and engaged. This is a fact. You must be so bitter to begrudge this beautiful family their happiness, and to begrudge am Yisrael this joy. If “goyim” can be respectful, why can’t you? I pray that you find peace within your heart one day, enough peace so you can be proud of your people, not a cowering excuse of a Jew.

    5. This looks like it was very nice and was done appropriately and as mentioned in a previous comment, everything looks done in a tzniusdik manner. I see no reason for criticism or attacking when a simcha is shared publicly in such a nice and proper way. Nothing seems to have been compromised or lessened because of the publicity at all.

    6. All you critics! Loosen up! Put a smile on your face and rejoice with the young couple. So what if they chose Times Square? Wherever the venue, joyous occasions are wonderful. .

    7. For the few disgruntled, jealous naysayers out there: RABBI KRINSKY made one of the Holy blessings under the chuppa! If it was good enough for this true servant of HaShem and the Rebbe,, then it was certainly good enough for me.

      And, furthermore, if it was good enough for VosIzNeis to write such a beautiful piece, then this too was good enough for me.

      • Well, Steve, I don’t know who this Krinsky fellow is, and I didn’t know he was in attendance, but you’ve taught me a lot about him. Probably not what you intended to teach me about him, but such is life.

    8. Where there is NO authority… then every minhag and halachah gets ignored… and you act like a clown.
      Quick question: did the naked cowboy get a kibud at the chupa? Isn’t he the local rav in Times Square?
      Nebach, nebach….

    9. The drive to make baalei teshuva has gotten out of hand. Yidden have always lost members throughout history, unfortunately, but never has any God-fearing Jew lowered their standards until Chabd in America decided it should become the norm. That may have been ok thirty years ago, but at this time, with rampant immorality, gays, transsexuals, women being 3/4 undressed, and all the garbage that goes with the current society, it is a terrible chilul Hashem to put on teffillin for these people and mix within these people to encourage them to do “teshuva”. More and more mentally ill, immoral people are being bought to mix with Chareidim. Just look what I’d happening to kids whose parents are busy with baaal tshuvas. Lubavitz should take a good look at their youth, especially the girls.

      This wedding, while I wish them all happiness, is the height of hypocrisy. Hashem wants Yidden to kodoish, not to lower themselves in the shmutz of Times Square, the height of immorality. Hashem is everywhere except in places where there’s no immorality and punkt there within the indecency the wedding had to take place?! Don’t these people care about the median of their own families before the seek to impress anyone else? Hashem demands of us to be kodoish, these streets reeking of spiritual garbage are to be passed through quickly if one needs to pass those streets, but to make a chasunah there? People who really want to do Hashems will should THINk if they are are really dong Hashem’s will of TRYING to stay kodoish in ithis increasingly immoral world, or is there “kiddush Hashem” rooted in self promotion, regardless of their perceived intentions?

      • “It is a terrible chilul Hashem to put on teffillin for these people and mix within these people to encourage them to do “teshuva”

        People said this 30 years ago too.

        Are kids whose parents mix worse off? Thats your opnion.

        Re the lubvatich girls, Let me tell you that 30/40 years ago all girsl worse short sleeves and mingled. Look at any pic of 30/40 years ago. Shidduchim without a shadchan was the norm.Just because chabad did not move to the extreme right as the beis yakov’s did does not mean they are any less frum.

        They did not make the chasana at a beis zona or something. It was in times square. Thats all it was

        • Times Square is a place of tuna, period. I’m sorry you got used to immoral pictures and even disgustingly undressed people used to be there parading right in front of where I was walking. I gave them. a Osaka both times I was walking there because I get to a certain areas. But to make a wedding there?! On the holiest day of the couple’s’ lives? Would u walk in times Square on Yom Kippur.

          And where are you living , in a cave? You are talking about short sleeves and dresses? People today are more undressed than dresses on warm days! And did you miss my words about gays and transsexuals? With hormones and surgery you can barely tell who’s who until it may or may not dawn on you that something’s off with the person you are putting on teffillin or giving out candles! Are people slow or what?! This is the reality today!

          • 26 also what about the gemmoreh ‘ u ike darkay achrina rasha hu’ to lekatchila make ehrlicher yidden to go there is ,chote umachte es hurabim’

            • Yes, feivish, I agree with your points. I try to avoid it walking through Times Square even though I’m not a man, but it’s bad on a ruchnius level for everyone. Certainly causing men, bucharim and boys as well as children to be within that area of immense tuma is terrible. Unfortunately, people are becoming immune to ( and effected by) immoral images.

    10. I am sorry to see so many people who feel so insecure about Yiddishkeit, although being descendants of Avraham Avinu who publicized G-dliness everywhere. Guys jump out of your box.

    11. it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.. bad enuf to do it not privately – but better should have been a lovely idyllic setting in central park rather than times square. i feel the whole thing was inappropriate & even a chilul hashem. very bad idea.

    12. This whole Bal tshuva movement that they are so busy with, where did they pick it up from? (I understand it’s a pure fundraising method)
      From this TSQ chasuna it looks like the Bal Aveira movement is stronger and won them over big time!!!

    13. * My post wasn’t clear as spell check changed the words. I meant to write that twice when I was in Times Square people who were literally undressed passed by and I gave it in to them.

      That place is a cesspool. Yiddishe simchas do not belong in Times Square.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here