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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Detroit Jewish Wedding Traditions

A traditional Jewish wedding is full of meaningful rituals and traditions. For the Jewish bride (kallah) and groom (chatan) it is tradition for them to not see each other one week before the wedding. Prior to their wedding ceremony they greet their guest separately and call this "Kabbalat Panim".

Next comes the badeken, the veiling of the kallah by the chatan. This is a sign of the groom's commitment to clothe and protect his wife. The ceremony will take place under a chuppah (canopy), and this symbolizes the home the new couple will build together. The chatan, followed by the kallah, are usually escorted to the chuppah by their respective sets of parents. There are two cups of wine to be used at the ceremony. The first cup to accompany the betrothal blessings and the sanctification prayer. In Jewish law, a marriage becomes official when the chatan gives an object of value to the kallah. Then comes the reading of the ketubah (marriage contract) which outlines the chatan's responsibilities. This must be signed by two witnesses. The seven blessings (Sheva Brachot) will then be recited, accompanied by the second glass of wine.

To conclude the end of the ceremony a glass is placed on the floor and the chatan shatters it with his foot and shouts "Mazel Tov". The kallah and chatan then leave the chuppah together. After their meal at the reception the Birkat Hamazon (Grace after meals) is recited, and the Sheva Brachot are repeated. It is also customary the week following the wedding for friends and family to host meals in honor of the kallah and chatan. This is called the week of Sheva Brachot in reference to the blessings said at the end of each of these meals.
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