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~ Jewish Wedding ~

Glossary Of Jewish Terms

  • ALYAH: a Torah honor, literally, "going up" (to the reader’s desk) to read a portion of the Torah text
  • ASKENAZIC: those Jews whose traditions and customs original from Central and Eastern Europe.
  • B'DEKEN: the veiling of the bride by the groom before the wedding ceremony
  • BENTSH: Yiddish for to say Grace, to say blessings
  • BENTSHER: the booklet containing the text of the Grace after Meals
  • BIMAH: the platform on which the reader’s desk is located. Usually in front of the Ark, but in Sephardic synagogues it may be in the center of the room.
  • BIRKAT HAMAZON: Grace after Meals
  • BRIT: circumcision, also the party given on the occasion
  • CHALLAH:a braided white bread made for the Sabbath and holidays
  • CHATAN: the groom
  • CHUPPAH: The wedding canopy.
  • ERUSIN: the betrothal ceremony-first part of the Wedding Service
  • FREYLAKH: a lively dance tune
  • GET: a religious decree of divorce according to Jewish law
  • GROOM'S TISH: the groom's table. This is where the groom, groomsmen and male family members gather for song and dance before the ceremony.
  • HA-MOTZI: colloquial expression for the blessing said over bread
  • HAKHNASSAT KALLAH: increasing the rejoicing of the bride. Any act of charity to help poor brides.
  • HAKHNASSAT ORKHIM: hospitality, especially on Sabbath and holidays
  • HATAN: Hebrew for bridegroom
  • HAVDALAH: concluding service at the close of the Sabbath, using a special braided candle
  • KALLAH: the bride
  • KETUBAH: the marriage contract
  • KADOSH: to be holy
  • KASHRUT: Jewish dietary laws
  • KIDDUSH: the blessing said over wine; also the reception that follows at any celebration
  • KIDDUSHIN: the word for marriage; it literally means "holiness"
  • KINYAN: refers to the gift of a ring at the ceremony or a material object at the contract signing
  • KIPPA: skullcap
  • KITTEL: white ceremonial robe sometimes worn by the groom during the wedding ceremony.
  • KOSHER: food and drink that meets the requirements of the dietary laws
  • LECHAYYIM: "to life"-the traditional toast before drinking liquor or wine
  • MACHTENISTE: mother-in-law
  • MAZEL TOV: literally, "good luck"- congratulatory wish
  • MAZINKEH TANTS: a joyous dance towards the end of the reception which honors parents who brought their last son or daughter to the huppah.
  • MEHUTON: father-in-law; also a new relationship to the other parents
  • MEHTONIM: relatives by marriage-in-laws MIDRASH: rabbinic tales and explanations of the Torah
  • MITZVAH: divine commandment
  • MIZINKE: a joyous dance towards the end of the simcha (reception), which honors parents who have brought their last daughter or son to the wedding canopy.
  • NAKHES: pleasure and pride in the accomplishment and virtues of one’s children
  • NUISIN: the nuptial portion of the wedding service
  • OYFRUF: Torah honor to the groom (and bride sometimes) on the Sabbath before the wedding
  • PARASHAH: the weekly portion of the Torah
  • SEFIRAH: the period between Passover and Shavuot when weddings may not be held
  • SEPHARDIM: Jews from Mediteranean countries, Spain or Portugal
  • SHABBAT: hebrew word for Sabbath
  • SHAMMASH: person in charge of the synagogue, the sexton
  • SHEKHINAH: the holy spirit, specifically, the feminine attributes of the Divine
  • SHEVA BERAKHOT: the seven marriage blessings, first recited under the huppah
  • SIMAN TOV: a good omen, congratulations or good wishes
  • SIMCHA: a celebration and the joy of a celebration
  • TALLIS: prayer shawl worn by married Jewish men in Orthodox synagogues and all adult men in conservative, reform and reconstructionist synagogues.
  • TENAIM: the engagement contract; also the celebration held when the contract is signed
  • TISCH: the festive table spread for the bride’s or the groom’s reception
  • TORAH: the first five books of the Hebrew Bible
  • TZEDAKAH: obligatory jewish requirement of righteous giving and just behavior that ensures the basic well-being of fellow human beings.
  • UNTERFIRER: couples escorting the bride and groom
  • YARMULKE: skullcap
  • YICHUD: "union"-the brief seclusion of the bride and groom immediately after the wedding ceremony
  • YOM KIPPUR: the Day of Atonement-holiest day in the Jewish year, when all sins are forgiven
  • ZIVUK: one’s preordained mate, the perfect match


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