First Jewish Wedding in Hawaii, 1879.

Marriage Ceremony.—On Tuesday evening the 22d inst., at the residence of the bride’s uncle, M. Louisson, Esq., of Honolulu, Mr. J. Hyman of this mercantile firm of Hyman Brothers, of this city, was married to Miss B. Frankel, niece of Mr. and Mrs. M. Louisson, in the presence of a very large company of invited guests, composing the elite of Honolulu. Everything that tae te could suggest or money procure, was furnished for the pleasure of the company. Mr. Louisson’s spacious and elegant mansion was arranged with consummate taste and liberality, and everything connected with it gotten up in the best of style. Outside the main building was erected a booth, draped with evergreens, tropical flowers, and the national flags of the United States, Hawaii and the German Empire, which gave a charming effect to the scene. The verandas and booth were brilliantly illuminated with Chinese lanterns and tastefully decorated, giving it the finest effect. In the booth was spread for the accommodation of the guests, who numbered about 200, a most sumptuous repast, gotten up under the superintendence of Mr. Herbert of the Hawaiian Hotel. At precisely 8 o’clock, the hour fixed, the bride and bridegroom filed into the parlor, where the guests were assembled, and Mr. Peck, a Hebrew and friend of the parties, who was deputized by the Jewish Rabbi at San Francisco, to perform the marriage ceremony according to the Hebrew formula which he did in the Hebrew tongue by reading from a book. The ceremony was short and solemnly performed by Mr. Peck, who concluded by pronouncing them man and wife, according to the Jewish as well as Hawaiian law. After Mr. Peck had concluded, the Rev. Dr. Damon stepped forward and presented the bride with the marriage certificate, prefacing the fact with a few appropri- and very happy remarks. This ended the ceremony, after which the persons assembled passed the bride and bridegroom in review, and paid them the usual compliments; this done, the guests repaired to the saloon, where they regaled themselves upon a most sumptuous repast, and all went happy as a marriage bell. There is one circumstance connected with the marriage ceremony above described, which we wish particularly to note, because of its novelty, as well as its historical significance, it is this: This marriage ceremony, conducted in accordance with the Hebrew ritual and formula as handed down from Moses, the ancient law-giver, is the first case of the kind that was ever thus celebrated on these Islands. This case possesses peculiar significance from the fact that Mr. Peck, before officiating as the substitute of the Rabbi, of San Francisco, took the precaution to procure from the Interior Department of the Hawaiian Kingdom, a license under Hawaiian law, permitting and legalizing the ceremony; and thus was secured not only the sanctity of the Jewish religion, but the civil law of this Kingdom at the same time, which rendered the solemnization of the marriage good and legal in a double sense, and thus it will form a precedent to be followed in similar cases for all time. The Hawaiian Band, under the direction of Mr. Berger, was present, and occupied a pavilion outside the main building, from which they discoursed sweet music. We must not neglect to mention that in the side room from the parlor were spread the elegant and costly presents to the happy pair, which consisted of an almost endless variety of silverware and articles of vertu, which testified the estimation in which both bride and bridegroom are held in this community. Everything passed off in the most pleasant and happy manner, and all who were present will long remember the first Jewish wedding that ever took place on the Hawaiian Islands.

(Hawaiian Gazette, 7/23/1879, p. 3)


The Hawaiian Gazette, Volume XV, Number 30, Page 3. July 23, 1879.


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