Preparing For The Wedding Well In Advance
Well in advance of your wedding, you will purchase wedding bands. Double ring ceremonies are encouraged. Because the grooms gift of a ring to the bride constitutes a legal act in Jewish Tradition, the Tradition prescribes that the brides ring be relatively plain (i.e.without stones). If your brides ring contains stones or if you have other questions regarding rings, please speak with the Rabbi.
You may also wish to purchase your own ketubah, Jewish wedding document. Otherwise the Rabbi will prepare a ketubah for you. If you choose to purchase a ketubah from a Judaica store or artist, please mention that you must have a Conservative ketubah with the Lieberman clause. Again, if you have any questions concerning the purchase of a ketubah, please call the Rabbi.
Preparing For The Wedding Its Getting Closer
You are encouraged to personalize your wedding in appropriate ways. For example, you may choose to write personal vows which may be offered during the private ceremony that precedes the wedding or at the wedding ceremony itself.
We will require two kiddush cups for use in the wedding ceremony. While the caterer may be able to supply these cups, you are also welcome to provide kiddush cups, particularly if they have special meaning to you.
Today, bride and groom often keep the glass they break at the wedding ceremony so that it may be displayed in some fashion in their home. You are welcome to provide this glass and, like the ketubah and kiddush cups, should let the Rabbi know if you plan to provide it. While any glass is fine, Judaica stores often carry glasses and pouches.
Photography and Videography
If you plan to have a photographer/videographer take pictures during the ceremony, please let them know the following guidelines prior to the ceremony:
- Photographer/videographer are welcome to take any pictures you desire during the private ceremony that precedes the wedding.
- Photographer/videographer may take any pictures you desire during the processional and recessional.
- Once the wedding ceremony has begun, the photographer/videographer can take pictures in an unobtrusive way. Photographer/videographer must remain at the back. No flash photography or video-related light going on and off is permitted during the ceremony.
PLEASE NOTE You may wish to prepare this last portion of the booklet (excluding the bibliography) as a handout for your wedding guests. It will help them to better understand the Jewish wedding and its symbolic meaning.
A Brief Summary of the Jewish Wedding
Jewish Wedding Preliminaries
Aufruf (pronounced owf-roof) literally means calling up and refers to the time the bride and groom celebrate in the synagogue usually on the Shabbat prior to the wedding. Most often, bride and groom are called to the Torah for an aliyah at the Shabbat Morning or Afternoon Service. At the conclusion of the aliyah, the Rabbi offers a special blessing of the couple, after which guests often throw candy on the couple, a symbol of the sweetness we hope lies ahead. It is also possible for the Rabbi to bless the couple at a Shabbat Evening Service.
If you would like to arrange for an aufruf or Shabbat Evening blessing, please call the Rabbis secretary at 732-536-2300 ext 106.
Immediately prior to the wedding ceremony, the bride, groom, rabbi and wedding party meet to sign the ketubah and conduct the badeken.
The ketubah is a document signed by witnesses that creates a formal, legal bond between bride and groom. The text, which dates back over 2,000 years, is written in Aramaic, the spoken language of the Jews at that time.
The badeken, or veiling ceremony, hearkens back to the biblical story of Rebecca who, as a sign of modesty, veiled herself as she approached her eventual husband, Isaac. Today, the badeken provides those present with the opportunity to offer special blessings to the bride.
The Jewish Wedding
The Jewish Wedding ceremony creates kiddushin, a unique, holy relationship between bride and groom. This special relationship is meant to bring blessings to the couple, their family and community.
CHUPPAH– The Wedding ceremony takes place under a canopy known as the CHUPPAH. It represents the home that the bride and groom will create. Like the chuppah, which has no walls, the marriage begins with just a roof. The bride and groom will build the walls that support it with love and friendship. The chuppah is open on all sides so that family and friends will always feel welcome.
CIRCLING (optional) As the ceremony begins, the bride and groom will circle a total of seven times. By circling each other, bride and groom symbolically indicate that they are about to enter into a unique relationship. The number is symbolic in Jewish Tradition of wholeness. The circling symbolizes complete commitment of the bride and groom to each other.
BIRCHOT ERUSIN (Betrothal Blessings) Sacred events in Jewish life are traditionally marked with wine and a blessing. Over a cup of wine a symbol of joy two blessings are chanted that create betrothal. At the conclusion of the blessings bride and groom share a cup of wine.
THE RING CEREMONYThe bride and groom will exchange rings and vows of consecration You are consecrated to me in accordance with the law of Moses and the people Israel. The circular quality of the rings symbolizes the unending character of marital love.
KETUBAH The ketubah, a marriage document signed by witnesses prior to the wedding ceremony,details important responsibilities. A portion of it is read during the ceremony.
SHEVA BRACHOT (Seven Blessings) The Sheva Brachot celebrate the theme of beauty and creation. As Rabbi Daniel Syme has written, The Sheva Brachot¦move from Gods creation of the world to the partnership of every human being with God in seeing the potential of that world for goodness and kindness fulfilled. At the conclusion of these blessings, the bride and groom again share a cup of wine.
BREAKING THE GLASS At the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, the groom breaks a glass. One interpretation of this action is that even at a time of great joy we ought to remind ourselves of shattering events in Jewish history. Bride and groom are also reminded that through their good works in the world, they symbolically repair the shattered glass.
The New Jewish Wedding, Anita Diamant, Simon & Schuster.
The Jewish Way In Love & Marriage, Rabbi Maurice Lamm, Harper & Row Publishers.
The Jewish Wedding Book, Rabbi Daniel Syme, UAHC Press.
M A Z E L T O V !