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Jewish Wedding Ceremony l Customs and Traditions

Ketubah: Marriage Contract

Traditionally this was the written contract between the groom and the Father of the bride. It is one of the oldest marriage tradition in a Jewish wedding. The Ketubah signing dates back to tribal times. In modern times this tradition evolved into the spiritual contract between the bride and groom.  The choosing of this important document together with your partner can become one of the most profound experiences you share while planning your wedding.

Bedeken: Veiling

After the Ketubah is signed the groom places the veil over the Bride’s face. This custom is based onthe biblical story of jacob, who was tricked into marrying a veiled Leah, instead of her sister Rachel. The veil also symbolizes the bride’s capacity to be both a wife, to share life goals and hopes with her groom, along with maintaining her self- confident individuality.

Chuppah: Canopy

The Wedding Canopy constructed either simply or elaborately. Represents the new home that is being established by the couple. The canopy represents Gods love and covering over the family. The polls represent the support of the family and friends who are witnessing the ceremony.The chuppah rests on four poles, yet as no walls, reflecting that family and friends will always be welcome in their home.

Hakafot: Circling

Circling is a custom believed to build an invisible wall of protection around the new couple and is also seen as an act that defines the new family circle, Traditionally, the bride circles the groom 7 times. In modern times, an egalitarian tradition has been created where the bride and the groom circle each other.

Kiddush: Wine Blessing

Growing up Jewish, one of the most observed rituals is the Kiddush, the blessing over the wine. Wine in the Torah always represents Joy, so it is no mystery that we lift the Kiddush Cup as often as we gather together and especially at a wedding.

Nissuin: Seven Blessings

Sheva Brachot (Hebrew: שבע ברכות‎) literally “the seven blessings” are community blessings recited for the bride and the groom under the chuppah over a second cup of wine.

Breaking of the Glass

This custom has several meanings which seal the nuptials. While traditionally a remembrance of the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, there are many metaphors that can be applied to this beautiful tradition.

Yichud: Seclusion

Immediately after the ceremony, the bride and groom head to a special secluded spot for 5 – 10 minutes to share their first married moments together.

Mazel Tov: Congratulations

This is the word shouted by all when the glass is broken at the end of the ceremony. Mazel Tov means much more than, “good luck and congratulations.” Deeper studies into these two words suggest a powerful “sending forth of energy”. In a way, it is a short prayer that the “joyous energy” that is felt at the moment the glass is broken will surround and sustain the couple throughout their lives together.

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