Thursday, May 6, 2021

Wedding Waze

The old cliché, “There’s no need for my wife to make supper,” is as true in Lakewood as anywhere. Lakewood is home to many weddings a night, kein yirbu, and perhaps just as many parlor meetings, bli ayin hara.

The challenge, of course, is figuring out how to make it to all the events and to get to each one – and the right ones – at the right time.

There’s nothing worse than showing up at a wedding after the chupah, right after the baalei simcha have disappeared to go take family pictures. You’re then stuck sitting at your table, eating challah, cole slaw and soggy pickles for 2 hours until the chosson and kallah enter for the first dance and you finally get to wish mazel tov to the baalei simcha.

Likewise, it’s disastrous when you show up at a parlor meeting just as the program begins and you can’t give shalom to the rosh hamosad until an hour and a half later after all the speeches are done. Yes, of course, you can keep yourself busy eating sesame chicken for the third night in a row, but you’ve got things to do and this is just a colossal waste of time.

And of course, it’s dispiriting when you arrive at one wedding only to find out that the wedding across town is an absolute shindig, with guests enjoying lamb chops as they gawk at a band that seems to have its own zip code.

This issue has bothered a number of concerned askanim, who have launched a new project called “Wedding Waze™.” Don’t let the name fool you. This new endeavor is not just for weddings. It is for any nightly event in Lakewood, with plans to expand it to other frum locales following the initial trial period, during which the programmers will be working out the kinks.

The new Wedding Waze™ app, which is compatible with all phones, is based on the concept of Waze, the community-driven, powered-by-the-masses GPS and navigational app that guides you through the shortest route possible while driving.

Like the original Waze, Wedding Waze™ – or WW™ for short – provides real-time directions and info that are adjusted on-the-fly to account for various types of potential obstacles, such as if a chosson and kallah are severely delayed following the chupah and won’t be entering the Lake Terrace ballroom till after 10 p.m. That will give you a chance to zip over to Ateres Reva to wish mazel tov and have some soup before heading to Oak Street in time to hear the Berko Brothers do their thing, and then make your way over to River 978, where Hilly Hill is entertaining at a sheva brachos.

“Wedding Waze™ is a phenomenal concept,” said Pini Mendeles, the maître d at N’eemas Hachaim Hall. “No one wants to miss the high points of a simcha. Wedding Waze™ allows simcha-goers to literally have it all.”

“It’s an absolute miracle of an idea,” said Rabbi Lew, the maître d at Ateres Chana Hall at Bais Faiga. “We usually have our badekens before 7 p.m., but if the mesader kiddushin is running late or the baal simcha insists on waiting for his wife’s third-cousin-once-removed to read the tenaim even though he’s still on the way from Monsey and is only up to the Raritan Bridge, Wedding Waze™ can keep you posted so that you don’t sit around eating potato kugel and lo mein for an hour.”

A new user recounts that Wedding Waze™ recently notified him that a wedding at the new Cheder Hall was running late, while Briskman and Werdyger were pumping the music at N’eemas Hachaim. He headed over to N’eemas first to catch some sweet sounds and was then notified that the program at the Shuvu parlor meeting off of 14th Street had just ended, and the food – Mike’s Chicken, of course – is worth the trip. Thus, the WW™ user was able to grab a bite to eat there, drop a modest check, and then head over with menuchas hanefesh to the new Cheder Hall just in time for the first dance with great music from Rosenfeld and Holtzer.

“Of course, Wedding Waze™ relies on the klal for it to work,” remarked Wedding Waze™ CEO Joe Travis. “We rely on baalei simcha, but, more importantly, we rely on simcha attendees to provide real-time updates for this groundbreaking app to change the way we enjoy our simchos.”

Information available to Wedding Waze™ users includes where a simcha or event is up to, which band is playing, which singers are singing, the quality of the food, the size of the crowd, whether non-invitees can crash without feeling dumb, the size of the Viennese table, and the like.

“If a band is playing songs from the ‘90s, some people might want to know before they trek out to Vassar Avenue,” mused music mogul Kohl Rabi. “Time is valuable and what goes into our ears is just as important as what goes into our mouths and on to our heads.”

Wedding Waze™ is a dream come true for many.

“Last night, I knew that I had Yisroel Appelbaum on keyboard at a bar mitzvah in Ateres Malka on Lehigh with food by Tessler Catering, while Yossi Shtendig was over in Eagle Ridge at an upsherin arranged by Elephant Productions, and A Team, Freilach and Light-Blue Melody were also in town,” said Effy “Out of My Kitchen” Blumenkrantz. “Wedding Waze™ allows you to have your finger on The Pulse of the simcha scene.”

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