Weddings

A wedding is a momentous occasion, both as a milestone in a couple’s life and in terms of the coordination necessary for such a celebration. We at The Temple want are available through the process of planning a wedding. Just as each couple is unique, we want to help make each wedding ceremony comfortable and authentic for couples and their families.

If you are interested in having a wedding at The Temple, or a wedding officiated by a member of our Temple clergy, please call Dianne Ratowsky as early as possible at 404-873-1731. She, along with Rabbi Berg, will help to coordinate the process of setting up a meeting with a clergy member to discuss your wedding and to ensure that someone is available on the dates you are considering.

Please do not commit to a date or time before speaking with us. If you are interested in having the wedding here at The Temple, please contact  Dianne Ratowsky our events coordinator, who can help with those arrangements.

The Jewish Wedding Ritual

There are many rituals connected to a Jewish wedding, and thus many decisions for each couple, in consultation with clergy, to make about the ceremony.

We encourage every couple planning a Jewish wedding to read The New Jewish Wedding by Anita Diamant in order to be aware of the meaning behind these rituals and to help plan for the ceremony. A copy of this book will be given to you when you meet with one of our clergy.

In addition to this book, The Temple has created a handbook for Jewish wedding planning, A Bridge to Holiness, Planning Your Wedding. Click here to access this handbook (file is a PDF to download and print).

Ketubah

A ketubah is a wedding contract that outlines the responsibilities and rights that exist within a marriage. Traditionally, it specified that the groom would provide for the bride in the event of death or divorce. Now, there are many different options of text available for a ketubah, incorporating ideas of partnership, equality, and hopes for the marriage. The ketubah signing takes place before the public ceremony and is witnessed by two eydim (witnesses) who are Jewish, over the age of 13, and not related to either person getting married.

Bedecken

The custom of ceremonially “veiling the bride” comes from the story of Jacob, when he was deceived into marrying Leah instead of his intended bride, Rachel. To ensure against future confusion, the custom arose of the groom veiling the bride. The ceremony of bedecken is now more about intention and equality, time for a couple to look into one another’s eyes and ensure that they are ready to marry one another.

Chuppah

Jewish weddings customarily take place under a chuppah, or a wedding canopy. It primarily represents the home that the couple will be creating in their marriage. A chuppah is basically four poles that hold a piece of fabric above the couple. Many choose to use a tallit, or prayer shawl, as the canopy. Some couples choose to have people hold the chuppah throughout the ceremony, and others choose to have it stationary.

Circling

There is an old custom of the bride circling the groom seven times before they enter the chuppah. There are many explanations for this custom. One explanation is that circling provides protection; another is that it shows that the bride’s main focus is now the groom. It is up to a couple to choose whether or not to circle, or if they would like to divide the circling so each has an opportunity to circle the other.

Sheva Brachot (Seven Blessings)

The traditional seven blessings for a wedding relate to major Jewish themes: creation, the Garden of Eden, redemption, and Jerusalem. They are often chanted in Hebrew and then read in English translation. One of the blessings is over the fruit of the vine, and after the sheva brachot are said, the couple drinks from the same kiddush cup.

Breaking the Glass

There are many interpretations for the breaking of a glass at the end of a Jewish wedding. It is a reminder that even in times of joy, there is sorrow. It is a reminder of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and our hope for redemption. A different interpretation of the glass-breaking is the hope that the marriage will last as long as it would take to put the broken glass back together.

Yichud

Immediately after the ceremony, the couple goes to a separate room to spend their first few moments as a married couple together away from the rest of the activity.

 

 

1589 Peachtree Street NE | Atlanta, GA 30309 | t 404-873-1731 | A Reform Synagogue | Affiliated with The Union for Reform Judaism