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Saturday, May 25, 2013,
16 Sivan 5773.
Page 1 of 2
Although many couples these days chose to hold their wedding ceremony at an outside venue, Hendon Reform Synagogue with our magnificant twin walls of stained glass windows and hand made "Chupa" [marriage canopy] will add a warmth and rich aura to the occasion.
Whether the ceremony takes place here or elsewhere, Rabbi Steven Katz will conduct the ceremony in the traditional manner, and in so doing make the occasion not only meaningful but joyful and memorable for all concerned.
The ceremony takes place under a Chupa which is often decorated with flowers and is a symbol of the hope to be built and shared by the couple. It is open on four sides, as was Sarah and Abraham's tent, in order to welcome friends and relatives in unconditional hospitality.
There are many beautiful customs and age old traditions that form part of a Jewish Wedding ceremony which are so symbolic and meaningful.
Whether you are attending a Wedding here as a guest or you are thinking of a Wedding at HRS for yourself, please read further. If you would like advice on planning your own Wedding at HRS please contact the Marriage Secretary on 0208 203 4168 who will be delighted to assist you.
BEFORE THE BIG DAY.......
Many couples like the tradition of an "Aufruf" . This is being called for a special blessing or for the reading of the Torah on the Sabbath prior to their Wedding. It is usual for both the Bride and Groom to participate in the Blessing over the Torah and is sometimes followed by a kiddush [reception] for the congregation following the service.
THE BIG DAY...
It is usual for the Groom to arrive approximately 20 minutes before the ceremony and together with his ushers, direct the guests to their seats in the Synagogue . The Bride will arrive a little later and make her way into the Bride's room to make any last minute adjustments!
This ancient custom serves as the first of many actions by which the Groom signals his commitment to clothe and protect his wife. The veil symbolizes the idea of modesty and conveys that however attractive physical appearances may be, the soul and character are paramount. If Bedecken is chosen by the couple, it is done in private with only both sets of parents present. The Bride is seated as the Groom is escorted into the room and, as he places the veil over his Bride's face the Rabbi says "May you grow into thousands of myriads......." [Genesis 24.60] and "May God make you as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.......".
FIRST FOOT FORWARD....
The Groom, together with his Best Man will make his way into the Synagogue and take his place under the Chupah. The Choir or Cantor will begin singing, thus opening the Ceremony and the Wedding Party, usually the parents of the Groom, Grandparents and the Bride's mother with her escort enter the Synagogue and also make their way to the Chupah. Once the Wedding Party have taken their places, the congregation will stand and the Bride on the arm of her escort [usually her father] will enter whilst either the Cantor or Choir sing the traditional hymn
Only plain unadorned rings may be used to symbalise the Jewish marriage. As the Groom places the ring onto the Bride's finger he says "Harei at mekudeshet li......." and if a Bride then places the ring on her Groom's finger, she says"Harei ata mekudash li......" . This mirrors their declaration to one another in order to establish an ambience of total equality and to emphasise that both husband and wife are now set aside for each other in all eternity.
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