Jewish wedding traditions

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Updated: 4/16/2007 2:29 pm
Jewish wedding traditions will vary, depending on whether you follow Orthodox, Conservative or Reform practices. However, there are many common elements in Jewish ceremonies. One is the huppah, a canopy made from a sheet of fabric, which is draped over and attached to four poles. Often, the poles are decorated with flowers or greenery. The bride and groom are each escorted to the huppah by their respective parents. A welcome by the rabbi or cantor begins the ceremony. There are two blessings: one over wine, where both bride and groom drink, and a marriage blessing. The groom recites an ancient wedding formula, and places the ring on the bride's right index finger. After the ceremony, the band may be moved to her left ring finger. Next, the ketubah, (kuh TOO buh) or marriage contract, is signed; usually, it's read out loud as well. The ketubah spells out the rights and obligations of each party. Finally, the groom breaks a glass under his foot, sometimes with the bride's help, as guests shout 'Mazel tov!' Other rituals may be involved as well; to find out more about Jewish wedding traditions, visit your library, or speak with a local rabbi.
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