What makes a wedding “Jewish”?
Like all weddings, Jewish wedding celebrate the sacred commitment that two human beings are making to one another. In the Jewish tradition, there are a number of special rituals and ritual objects that are used in a wedding.
For example, the chuppah--a canopy held up by four poles that symbolizes the couples’ home together. A chuppah can be set up to stand alone or the poles of the chuppah can be held by friends or family members. Another important part of a Jewish wedding is the ketubah—a contract that states the promises and commitments that the couple are making to each other. In Orthodox communities, the ketubah is similar to a marriage license—it serves as a legal document. In progressive Jewish communities, the ketubah is now more of a spiritual document and also a work of art that the couple can hang in a prominent place in their home.
A Jewish wedding can include other important rituals, such as blessing and drinking wine, exchange of rings, the recitation of Seven Blessings and the most well-known ritual—the breaking of a glass at the end of the ceremony.
There are many ways for contemporary couples to bring creativity to Jewish wedding rituals—from making a chuppah out of quilt squares created by family and friend to writing their own ketubah text.
If young children are invited to attend a wedding, you may want to talk with the couple about expectations for children as weddings can vary in terms of their formality.
What is it like to attend a Jewish wedding?
It is lots of fun to attend a Jewish wedding! The wedding experience will vary depending on whether it is an Orthodox wedding (where men and women sit and celebrate separately) or not. This video shows you all about the many rituals that a Jewish wedding may include. At many Jewish wedding receptions, there will be an opportunity to dance the horah—a traditional Jewish circle dance. Watch this video to help you practice your horah dancing!
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