Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Because most of us are not too well versed on the ways of Orthodox dating and marriage, I thought I would start with a bit of a glossary to accompany the pictures from the wedding.

 I interviewed the father of the bride for some of this information and looked on aish.com and other websites for more.

SHADCHAN: First of all, the bride and groom's mothers hire a shadchan or matchmaker when their children are ready to marry. The shadchan gathers information and photos and tries to make a match or shidduch based on the facts at hand. Most use more than one matchmaker but the one who makes the match gets paid. It's like a dating site only with real people (said the father of the bride)!

In this case, 20 year old Ashira went out with perhaps 4 or 5 guys before she found 24 year old Mr. Right. They dated 12 times either in a public place such as a hotel lobby or restaurant but never alone. After the engagement, they spent time sitting in the Friedman yard getting to know each other even better but never did they touch until after the wedding. And never in public even after they are married. They were engaged for three months which is longer than many couples.

Always a small world story and here's a goodie! Zach's yeshiva is on Ramat HaGolan where the Friedman Family lives. Several years ago Marc used to stand next to him most afternoons to daven or pray. Little did either of them know then...

And another: Rabbi Albert of Congregation Beth Jacob in Oakland was 2 years ahead of Zach at a yeshiva in the east but they counseled together at a Jewish summer camp.

Marc also told me about dating in NY. Aside from hotels, the couples go to airports. One comedian said if they go to all three major airports then everyone know it's serious!

KALLAH AND CHATAN: It is customary for the kallah (bride) and chatan (groom) not to see each other for a week preceding the wedding day. Separate receptions, called Kabbalat Panim, were held just prior to the wedding ceremony. The couple is compared to a queen and a king. The kallah is seated on a throne to receive her guests, while the chatan is surrounded by guests who sing and toast him.

SEPARATE BUT EQUAL: The men and women were separate throughout the evening except when the groom approached for the b'deken (see below) and during the ceremony itself. No communal eating or dancing. The room was divided by screens to prevent any immodest behavior!

KETUBAH: A legal marriage document that protects the rights of the bride and states the groom will provide for her. It is signed by the groom, the rabbi and two male witnesses before the ceremony. It is read aloud by the rabbi during the ceremony. Thousands of years before the prenup!

B'DEKEN:  The word translates to "veiling." Just prior to the actual wedding ceremony, the Chatan approached the Kallah and pulled the veil over her face. The veil serves to remind them that they remain distinct individuals even as they unite in marriage. This ritual veiling developed from the biblical story of Jacob who married Leah by mistake instead of Rachel whom he loved. The tradition now is that a Chatan and Kallah see each other shortly before the ceremony to avoid such confusion.

CHUPPAH: The ceremony took place under the chuppa or canopy under the stars. This particular one belonged to the wedding hall and was made of decorated wood. Some are carried by friends and/or family members and made of various family heirlooms or new pieces of cloth held up by poles.

CIRCLING: When the bride arrived at the chuppah she circled the groom seven times with her mother and future mother-in-law, while the groom continued to pray. This symbolizes the idea of the woman being a protective, surrounding light of the household, that illuminates it with understanding and love from within and protects it from harm from the outside. The number seven parallels the seven days of creation, and symbolizes the fact that the bride and groom are about to create their own "new world" together.

BREAKING OF THE GLASS: Orthodox Jews always yearn for the rebuilding of the Temple and the coming of the Messiah.  The Chatan broke the glass with his right leg to symbolize the destruction of the Temple after he and his Kallah drank wine from the glass.

YICHUD: Immediately following the ceremony the couple went into a closed room together for the first time and to eat their first meal together.

SHEVA BRACHOT: Refers to the seven blessings recited by various rabbis under the chupah. It also refers to the seven days including the wedding day that follow when friends and family entertain for the couple. Unlike in western ways, they do not run off to a honeymoon but stay to meet and get to know each others family and friends.

FREYLECH: The one word I do not have to google! It means happy and this was the "freylechish" wedding ever with the "freylechish" Kallah and Chatan ever!

In Batya's front yard with our gorgeous granddaughter
 One bride for three brothers!
Our great granddaughters Batsheva and Yael Hadassah

Father of the Bride

The Queen on her Throne.

From left rear: Groom's mother, sister in law, Bride's mother's cousin, Brides mother, grandmother; Center:Bride and sisters; Front: Groom's niece, Bride's nieces and sister in law

Rear from left: Groom's brother, Brides grandfather, Bride's father, Bride's brother, Groom's father; Front: Groom's brother, Brides brothers and Bride's niece taking it all in!

B'deken: Groom with father and rabbi
After B'deken

Rabbi reading Ketubah in Hebrew
After the breaking of the glass
The Friedman/Stern Family (facing paid professional photographer!)
The Chatan and his Kallah

Three generations

Kallah with mother in law

The latest fun at weddings!

Friends entertaining the Kallah and her mother.

Bride's brother helping niece blow bubbles!

Mr. and Mrs. Zacharia Stern leaving laden down with food from friends after a glorious evening!

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