“A Jewish wedding has the potential to be one of the most powerful Jewish rituals. It is a reminder of the power of love and union.”
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, twice named one of America’s Top Rabbis by Newsweek, shared that perspective with Jewish Life readers in an article about life-cycle events in 2105.
Our Wedding Section this month is an exploration of that power of love and union. We look beyond the celebration itself. Successful couples base an enduring relationship on commitment and a shared vision of the future.
For those ready to step into that future together, we offer both traditional and innovative ways to make this memorable day your own.
Following are some of the traditions of a Jewish wedding:
- Mikvah – In the days before the wedding, brides and grooms each may visit the mikvah (ritual bath) to mark this important transition in their life from being single to being married. Portland has a beautiful new community mikvah, Rachel’s Well, that welcomes anyone to come in preparation for their wedding. The solitude of immersion can also provide an island of peace and contemplation during an otherwise hectic, though joyful, time.
- Erusin – The ancient betrothal ceremony includes two blessings – one over wine and one reserving the couple for each other – and the ring ceremony.
- Ketubah – Wedding contract or statement of obligations; often an artistic document that takes a prominent place in the couple’s new home
- Chuppah – The wedding canopy symbolizing the Jewish home the couple is about to create together
- Nesuin – the formal marriage ceremony including Sheva Brachot, the seven blessings.
- Breaking of the glass – At the conclusion of the ceremony, the groom steps on a wine glass wrapped in cloth to symbolize the remembrance of sorrow at our moment of greatest joy.
- Yichud – The bride and groom proceed to the “yichud (seclusion) room,” where they spend a few minutes alone.