It would be easy to imagine Levi and Mushky Glitsenstein's wedding taking place somewhere far away, somewhere more exotic, had it not been for the prevailing backdrop of yonder snow-speckled mountains -- and the occasional appearance of a prominent Alaska politician.
The Glitsenstein wedding, held Wednesday at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in downtown Anchorage, was a unique affair nonetheless. Men with long beards, big black fedoras and kippahs (head coverings) darted about everywhere, speaking in Hebrew -- a language that's at once foreign and familiar in Alaska -- at what surely must have been the first-ever Last Frontier Chassidic Jewish wedding.
Chassidism (or Hasidism) is a branch of Orthodox Judaism known for celebrating the more mystical beliefs and traditions of the ancient religion. And the Glitsenstein affair drew guests from all over the world. While the ceremony was mostly conducted in Hebrew, little was lost in translation thanks to an interpreter who revealed the Chassidism for outsiders and non-Jews.
Mushky, an Anchorage local and daughter of Rabbi Yosef and Esty Greenberg, wore a simple but elegant white dress and was veiled for much of the ceremony. Levi, son of Rabbi Israel and Faiga Glitsenstein, wore the traditional black hat, coat and shoes.
After the ceremony, held outdoors under a Chuppah, bride and groom adjourned for a few private moments before returning to the reception hall for a rousing celebration with their guests. In accordance with Jewish tradition, men and women were partitioned apart, separated from each other, as each side danced feverishly around the bride and groom.
Contact Loren Holmes at loren(at)alaskadispatch.com