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The Jewish Wedding Ceremony Customs and Traditions

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Traditionally called kiddushin, the Jewish wedding ceremony is filled with meaningful customs that the bride and groom undergo to express the significance and purpose of marriage:

  • Ketubah (ketuvah) Written in Aramaic, the marriage contract specifies the bride and groom's commitment to each other. The ketubah is usually signed in a ceremony before the wedding service

  • Chuppah (chupah) The chuppah is a canopy, usually a decorated piece of cloth, that symbolizes the home the bride and groom will build together. The chuppah is open on all sides, also symbolizing that friends and family are always welcome in the newlywed's home.

  • Sheva B'rachot (sheva brachos) The seven blessings is a series of blessings that is chanted by the Cantor or Rabbi. In Judaism, seven is seen as the mystical number of creation and completion. These blessings thank God for the beauty of the moment and the splendor of life.

  • Ring Ceremony – Typically of flawless gold, the wedding ring represents the unending love and eternal joy a marriage will bring. It is customary to place the ring on the index finger during the exchange. One ancient belief is that the index finger is directly connected by a special artery to the heart and so the couple's hearts are joined.

  • Wrapping in the Tallit – During the final benediction the couple is wrapped in two tallitot (prayer shawls) around their shoulders. This wrapping symbolizes the private Jewish life the bride and groom will have together.

  • Breaking of the Glass – The wedding ceremony is usually concluded with the groom breaking a glass under his foot. Traditionally, this custom is a reminder of the destruction of the first Temple and the anguish of the Jewish people throughout history. It is also a reminder that relationships are as fragile as glass and must always be treated with care, love and respect.

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