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The Aufruf, A Pre-Wedding Aliyah

Either the groom or the couple is called up to the Torah for an aliyah on the Sabbath before their wedding.

To learn about more Jewish wedding customs, scroll down to the videos at the bottom of this page.

The aufruf, a communal acknowledgment of the upcoming wedding, is traditionally accompanied by a Shabbat kiddush [light Sabbath refreshments] in the synagogue’s social hall, sponsored by the parents of bride and/or groom.

It is traditional for the groom to receive an aliyah to the Torah [in which he recites blessings before and after the Torah reading] on the Shabbat prior to his wedding. In Reform, Reconstructionist, and [most] Conservative synagogues, both bride and groom are usually called to the Torah. This ceremony is called aufruf, which, in Yiddish, means “calling up.”

After reciting the blessings, the rabbi usually offers a misheberakh blessing [said for someone who has an aliyah] for the couple.

After that, the groom (or couple), as they leave the bimah [pulpit], is showered with candy and raisins, symbolizing sweetness and fruitfulness; or nuts, because the Hebrew word for nut, egoz, has the same numerical value (17) as the Hebrew word for good (tov).

Excerpted with permission from Teaching Jewish Life Cycle: Insights and Activities (A.R.E. Publishing, Inc.)

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