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Is anyone here Jewish or been to a Jewish wedding?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
DH's co-worker just got engaged and we'll be going to the wedding. They're Jewish (not sure if they're orthodox or not) and are planning a traditional jewish wedding. I'm really looking forward to it because I've only been to Christian weddings and court house weddings. But, I don't want to do anything wrong or inappropriate since I'm not very familiar with the religion.

Can anyone tell me what to expect? I've read that the men and women celebrate separately at the reception. Is this true?
post #2 of 19
You might ask Butzie. And there's always Google...
post #3 of 19
I've been to a few Jewish weddings, so here is my very simplistic view of them. The only thing I've noticed that is different from Christian (or other) weddings is that they carry the bride and groom up on chairs during the reception. The vows are different at every wedding, of course, the Jewish ceremony is lovely. They smash a glass, too (in a towel). Everybody celebrated together at the reception. Oh, and it's totally okay for women to wear a solid black dress to a Jewish wedding. Have fun!
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
I've been to a few Jewish weddings, so here is my very simplistic view of them. The only thing I've noticed that is different from Christian (or other) weddings is that they carry the bride and groom up on chairs during the reception. The vows are different at every wedding, of course, the Jewish ceremony is lovely. They smash a glass, too (in a towel). Everybody celebrated together at the reception. Oh, and it's totally okay for women to wear a solid black dress to a Jewish wedding. Have fun!
I would ask Butzie as well.

BTW - the last 2 Christian weddings I've been to (one Italian and one Dutch Christian Reform), I've been amazed to see that almost every female guest was wearing black as in black party/cocktail type dresses and outfits.
post #5 of 19
I'm Jewish. It's rare for men and women to be seperated at the ceremony or reception. Only if the temple is strictly Orthodox. Think Fiddler on the Roof if you have ever seen the movie.

The differences are most of time both parents escort the bride down the aisle. The ceremony is under a canopy and the bride and groom share wine from a cup that is then smashed by the groom at the end of the ceremony.

As to the reception the bride and groom are lifted up on chairs at some point and be prepared to do the hora. Don't worry it's easy to pick up. The food will be great but not as much drinking. If they are kosher, again rare. no shellfish or dairy with a meat dinner. I can't think of anything else. Have fun.
post #6 of 19
I have been to jewish weddings.
The last one was 3 years ago.
I know alot about them.
http://www.jewish-history.com/minhag.htm
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckatz View Post
I'm Jewish. It's rare for men and women to be seperated at the ceremony or reception. Only if the temple is strictly Orthodox. Think Fiddler on the Roof if you have ever seen the movie.

The differences are most of time both parents escort the bride down the aisle. The ceremony is under a canopy and the bride and groom share wine from a cup that is then smashed by the groom at the end of the ceremony.

As to the reception the bride and groom are lifted up on chairs at some point and be prepared to do the hora. Don't worry it's easy to pick up. The food will be great but not as much drinking. If they are kosher, again rare. no shellfish or dairy with a meat dinner. I can't think of anything else. Have fun.
Thanks everyone. See, I WAS picturing Fiddler on the Roof (one of my favorite movies!), and I was imagining me being in a room with a bunch of people I don't know. Not a good thing for me unless you need the wall held up.

I just wanted to make sure there isn't something I should do, or something I shouldn't do. I just don't want to offend anybody (Yeah, I get stressed out about stupid things ). I hope I didn't offend anyone with this question.
post #8 of 19
Here is another link.
http://www.jewish-history.com/minhag.htm
My Dads wedding was in Hebrew and Spanish.
The ceremony was Hebrew.
The reception was in spanish.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by calico2222 View Post
Thanks everyone. See, I WAS picturing Fiddler on the Roof (one of my favorite movies!), and I was imagining me being in a room with a bunch of people I don't know. Not a good thing for me unless you need the wall held up.

I just wanted to make sure there isn't something I should do, or something I shouldn't do. I just don't want to offend anybody (Yeah, I get stressed out about stupid things ). I hope I didn't offend anyone with this question.
Not at all. I haven't been to very many Christian weddings. Actually my favorite wedding was a Chinese wedding. Very different and the bride changed into a red dress.
post #10 of 19
I have been to chinese weddings and they change dresses so many times and wore alot of bracelets. I also was at a filipino/chinese wedding which was good. I have been to Meican Weddings also.
post #11 of 19
The only other thing is if the ceremony is in a temple. You may need to cover your head, if you are going with someone male they will be offered a yarmulke. You might want to bring a scarf to use.
post #12 of 19
Just got a chance to go to TCS and I noticed that I have become the Jewish wedding maven. That is a very nice compliment.

I did a quick search of synagogues in WV and there are none that say Orthodox. One in Charleston, Congregation B'nai Jacob, proclaims that it is traditional, but an Orthodox synagogue would say that it Orthodox. So, I do not think that you need to worry about the men and women sitting separately.

Before getting to the synagogue, there are some things to do to prepare.
First of all, if you are giving the bride and groom money, the number 18 has some significance in Judaism. So, for luck, money should be in multiples of 18 because that is associated with life.

There may be kippot (yarmalkes) awaiting for the men over 13 when you enter. Wearing one is correct for all men. They sometimes have the bride and groom's name printed on the inside and can be taken with you.

This is also the time to look for a handout about what to expect during the ceremony so you have the background that explains things. Either it will be near the kippot or there will be someone handing them out to you.

The parents do escort the bride up to the huppah, the canopy, where the groom is waiting. Then, it is a relatively short ceremony. It is nothing like a Catholic mass with the wedding ceremony. A Jewish wedding is a separate event from all other religious events.

For attire, business suits are always fine for men. A men should wear a kippah (from the table at the door) unless it totally goes against his religious beliefs. In most cases it should not because it is just a hat to wear in the synagogue.

For the women, it is not appropriate unless you are Jewish (IMO) to wear a kippah on your head. What you need to wear is proper clothing. Make sure that your shoulders are covered. If you want to wear a spaghetti strap, low cut dress to the party, then bring a shawl for the ceremony.

When the bridegroom stamps on the glass (it may be a lightbulb these days) and it brakes, say, "Mazeltov!"

The reception will most probably be Kosher. That means that meat and dairy do not mix. You are most likely to have a chicken or a fish main meal because desserts and the milk you put in you coffee are not meat and cannot be served in the same meal as dairy/chicken.

The first thing that will be done before the meal can be eating is the blessing over the Challah, the bread. The blessing is:

Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, ha‑motzi lehem min ha‑aretz.

Translation: "Blessed are you, LORD, our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth."

Respond with, "Ah Main" accent on the last syllable.

Also, the toasts at the reception afterwards should be answered La Chaim - to life.

Have fun at the reception! Dance the Hora when the bride and groom are lifted up! Celebrate with them on their wedding day!

A little conversational piece...We get a Ketubah right before the ceremony. It is an ancient contract that has a way to give a woman what is rightly hers from the protection of her husband, like a dowry. If it has a "get" clause, then the husband must accept and give his wife a divorce as per Jewish law. BTW, our Ketubah does not have one but we have been married for a number of years so I guess we don't need one.

WOW! That was a long reply! PM me if you want more info!

Butzie!
post #13 of 19
lol yea i have been to a couple of jewish weddings,
however being a guy, i realliy cant remember much about it, accept for the pain of losing another friend to marraige.

Butize, good advice
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
lol yea i have been to a couple of jewish weddings,
however being a guy, i realliy cant remember much about it, accept for the pain of losing another friend to marraige.

Butize, good advice
Hey, Bruce,

Thanks, that was nice to say. You always say nice things but this time was special for me.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by butzie View Post
Just got a chance to go to TCS and I noticed that I have become the Jewish wedding maven. That is a very nice compliment.

I did a quick search of synagogues in WV and there are none that say Orthodox. One in Charleston, Congregation B'nai Jacob, proclaims that it is traditional, but an Orthodox synagogue would say that it Orthodox. So, I do not think that you need to worry about the men and women sitting separately.

Before getting to the synagogue, there are some things to do to prepare.
First of all, if you are giving the bride and groom money, the number 18 has some significance in Judaism. So, for luck, money should be in multiples of 18 because that is associated with life.

There may be kippot (yarmalkes) awaiting for the men over 13 when you enter. Wearing one is correct for all men. They sometimes have the bride and groom's name printed on the inside and can be taken with you.

This is also the time to look for a handout about what to expect during the ceremony so you have the background that explains things. Either it will be near the kippot or there will be someone handing them out to you.

The parents do escort the bride up to the huppah, the canopy, where the groom is waiting. Then, it is a relatively short ceremony. It is nothing like a Catholic mass with the wedding ceremony. A Jewish wedding is a separate event from all other religious events.

For attire, business suits are always fine for men. A men should wear a kippah (from the table at the door) unless it totally goes against his religious beliefs. In most cases it should not because it is just a hat to wear in the synagogue.

For the women, it is not appropriate unless you are Jewish (IMO) to wear a kippah on your head. What you need to wear is proper clothing. Make sure that your shoulders are covered. If you want to wear a spaghetti strap, low cut dress to the party, then bring a shawl for the ceremony.

When the bridegroom stamps on the glass (it may be a lightbulb these days) and it brakes, say, "Mazeltov!"

The reception will most probably be Kosher. That means that meat and dairy do not mix. You are most likely to have a chicken or a fish main meal because desserts and the milk you put in you coffee are not meat and cannot be served in the same meal as dairy/chicken.

The first thing that will be done before the meal can be eating is the blessing over the Challah, the bread. The blessing is:

Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, ha‑motzi lehem min ha‑aretz.

Translation: "Blessed are you, LORD, our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth."

Respond with, "Ah Main" accent on the last syllable.

Also, the toasts at the reception afterwards should be answered La Chaim - to life.

Have fun at the reception! Dance the Hora when the bride and groom are lifted up! Celebrate with them on their wedding day!

A little conversational piece...We get a Ketubah right before the ceremony. It is an ancient contract that has a way to give a woman what is rightly hers from the protection of her husband, like a dowry. If it has a "get" clause, then the husband must accept and give his wife a divorce as per Jewish law. BTW, our Ketubah does not have one but we have been married for a number of years so I guess we don't need one.

WOW! That was a long reply! PM me if you want more info!

Butzie!
Great answer, Rosemary.

Oh, I've been to a Jewish wedding or two!

Any way to find out for sure what kind of temple .... or religious background of the people getting married? That will determine how much you follow the kinds of things that Rosemary detailed here. None of my family's weddings had kosher food... except the Orthodox one, of course. Expect to have a good time! One sister had the chair thing ... the other didn't cuz the reception was in my mom and dad's house.

The invitations will probably say what to wear ie: formal, black tie optional etc.

If it is in the conservative or reform traditions - the ceremony will be a mix of English and Hebrew.

If you are at all concerned, land on the side of conservative dress... not too much skin or something with a jacket over it so you can party down after the ceremony.

Any more Qs, feel free to post back!
post #16 of 19
Haven't been to a Jewish wedding, but some years ago, I edited together a friend's video of his cousin's wedding in Poland (he produced it as a gift for the family). Mostly, I remember the wonderful music (klezmer, I think it's called), and the relaxed, informal attitude. It was a very warm and joyful celebration, with lots of dancing... I'm sure you'll have great fun!
post #17 of 19
There is alot of dancing and its fun doing the Hora.
post #18 of 19
I've never been to a non-Jewish wedding Though we have been to secular weddings, but they were all Jewish, in one way or another.

We do them a bit differently here, but honestly, apart from the ceramony with the rabbi, the rest here is just a fancy party.

Just a word about the laws of kashrut. Chicken is considered meat, so if they go for a dairy menu, you can only have fish for the main course. Which is why most kosher catering here go for meat for the main courses (chicken, or meat or fish) and use non-dairy replacements for the coffee and desserts.
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks Butzie and everyone else! I asked DH last night, and he's pretty sure the family isn't orthodox. They're getting married in Maryland (about 30 min away) and I don't know of any orthodox synagogs around here. I also looked up some wedding ceremonies on YouTube and they look like a blast! I can't wait to see and do the Hora.
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