Calling up of the wedding couple to recite the Torah blessings on the Shabbat preceding the wedding.
Lit. "covering." Refers to the ceremony when a bride is veiled prior to the wedding ceremony.
beth din, bet din, beis din
Hebrew for "house of judgment", a beit din is a rabbinical court that has jurisdiction in matters of Jewish law.
Literally, “dedication of the house;" ceremony during which a mezuzah is affixed to a doorpost.
"Canopy" under which a couple is married. A tallit may serve as a chuppah, or it may be made from velvet, silk or flowers.
Foods derived from meat or meat products.
This pre-wedding celebration derives from the Sephardic and Mizrachi world and traditionally centers on a bride. Henna is a red dye that is placed in the form of a paste on a bride's hands and feet to adorn her for her wedding. Usually hosted by a bride's women firiends, she is feted with song, dance, and sweets.
Kosher parchment; commonly refers to parchment inscribed with specific biblical verses (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21) and placed within a mezuzah case.
Traditional Jewish marriage contract; plural: ketubot
Ceremony in which one partner (traditionally the groom) gives the ketubah to the other partner (traditionally the bride) thus "acquiring" the other.
Literally, “(ritually) fit" or “proper;” refers to foods that are permitted to be eaten according to kashrut, the system of Jewish dietary laws and practices. Colloquially, we say that a food is kosher (or not) and a person “keeps kosher” (or doesn’t); can also describe ritual objects that are ritually fit for use (i.e., Torah scrolls, tallit, etc.).
Lit. "crowning." An Eastern European wedding tradition in which the mother (or mothers) are crowned, usually with a wreath of flowers, to celebrate having just seen their last child wed.
The 33rd Day of the Counting of the Omer when weddings are traditionally permitted.
An Eastern European ceremony celebrating the marriage of the last child in a family. Seated on chairs in the center of the dance floor, the parents are presented with bouquets and circled by the company in a dance that celebrates the completion of their parental responsibility.
A ritual pool or gathering of waters used for ritual immersion to mark a significant life cycle moment, celebration, or transition, or as a component of the conversion ritual. In some Jewish communities, married women immerse each month at the conclusion of their menstrual cycle. Customarily, a bride immerses in a mikvah prior to her wedding and today, both brides and grooms might immerse prior to their wedding. Some people immerse to prepare for Shabbat or holidays. There are many creative rituals for using the mikvah at any significant lifecycle moment. Immersion in a mikvah is also a final step in the conversion process; a natural body of water also can serve as a mikvah. Plural: mikvaot.
Food products that are made with neither meat nor milk products and therefore, according to customary kashrut practices, can be eaten with either. Produce, grains, fish, and eggs are considered pareve. The word also is used colloquially to mean “neutral” or “without strong opinions.”
Sheva B'rachot, Sheva Berachot
"Seven blessings;" traditional blessings recited or chanted during a wedding ceremony, immediately after the exchange of rings.
treyf, treif, trefe
"torn apart" (Yiddish); food that is not ritually fit; opposite of kosher.
Lit. "conditions." Refers to an engagement and betrothal document signed by both families stipulating terms and the date of the wedding.
A decorative garment in the form of a long sash made from the baby's swaddling cloth. In pre-Shoah (pre-Holocasut) Eastern Europe, fabric from the clothing that swaddled an infant at his b'rit milah was made into a wimple that could be used as a Torah binder. The wimple was used to wrap the Torah at the child's consecration and at his bar mitzvah, and was included in the fabric to make the wedding chuppah. Almost extinguished during the Shoah, the tradition of the wimple has been revived in contemporary Jewish culture. Now, Jewish parents and grandparents make wimples for both boys and girls. Sometimes the wimple is still made from the swaddling cloth. More commonly now, the baby is swaddled in the wimple itself.
"Privacy" or "seclusion;" the short period of time a couple may elect to spend alone immediately after their wedding ceremony.
Lit. "oneness." Immediately following the wedding ceremony, the wedding couple often disappear to a private place for yichud. In this seclusion they affirm the unity they have achieved in their hearts and souls under the chuppah. This special time allows them to share their first moments alone as partners before the celebration begins.