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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.
The focus of the meal may be around a personal sermon delivered by the groom. Excerpted with permission from Teaching Jewish Life Cycle: Insights and Activities (A.R.E. Publishing, Inc.).
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).
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