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Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Final chuppah for “The Sixth Town”
  • Congregants are outnumbered by prayer books at the Rosedale Jewish Center. Rabbi Shalom Nemtzov uses a classroom to sign the ketuba at his son Zalman's wedding.
  • With membership dwindling, Rosedale Jewish Center will soon close its doors.
  • Rabbi Sholom Nemtzov is mesader kiddushin for son Zalman’s wedding in Rosedale.
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The Nemtzov wedding is likely the last time that Mi Adir would be heard in the parking lot, and the Sheva Brachot in the dining hall. Among the remaining congregants, Adele Weinstein, who owns a local dance school, expressed sadness as the music played. “I am truly heartbroken that it’s closing. We did not want to sell, but that was the decision,” Weinstein said. A half century ago, most of Weinstein’s students came from the Hebrew school. “When it opened, I had only one black student, now they are all black,” Weinstein said. Blaming the Jewish decline on fear of crime, Weinstein defended her neighbors as quiet middle-class people.

Such is the story of white flight that shuttered numerous New York City shuls in the second half of the 20th century, as once-Jewish East New York, Brownsville, and Grand Concourse, experienced a mass exodus of Jews. But Rosedale was different, a suburb whose potential to become a “Sixth Town” never came to pass, as children moved out, and seniors moved south.

Taking on the challenge in true Chabad form, Rabbi Nemtzov served as a rabbi and cantor, laining the weekly parsha and haftorah. Even after the parsonage was sold, he commuted from his Borough Park home on Fridays, staying in shul over Shabbat. “It’s important to have simchas in the shul and not just davening. The shul is a holy place and it enhances the simcha.”

Though Zalman Nemtzov lives in California and met his wife on JDate, he returned to his local roots in respect for his father and family. “All of my relatives and cousins live in New York. It’s hard to ask 100 people to fly to California,” Nemtzov said. A separate secular celebration will take place in California for the couple’s friends.

The chuppah was held by family members, as a two-person band accompanied the groom down the aisle. Brother Shaul Nemtzov played a guitar, with cousin Tzadok Gable on the electric piano. In his address, Rabbi Nemtzov said that the couple was destined to marry in his shul. “Zalman Tuvia Nemtzov’s name contains mazal tov and his bride Shoshana is a rose. So they had to come to Rosedale to get married,” Rabbi Nemtzov said.
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