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Not Jewish But Invited To A Jewish Wedding? Don't Panic, We Can Help!

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If you're not Jewish but you've been invited to attend a Jewish Wedding, have no fear! You might feel a bit out of place during the ceremony but we've got information and etiquette tips to make you feel comfortable.

First, what type of wedding is it? If the bride and groom are Conservative or Orthodox a certain degree of modesty is expected in dress, especially for women. The invitation may even specify it. This means no low-cut dresses or tops. Hems that fall below the knee and sleeves that cover the elbow are expected but if you're uncertain, there is nothing wrong with asking the wedding hosts beforehand.

Another element of the Conservative or Orthodox ceremony is that men and women are separated by the “mechitza” partition. They sit separately at the ceremony and reception, and dance separately. This is a deeply engrained part of the cultural heritage in these more restrictive branches of the Jewish faith, and arguing about it is poor etiquette and is not going to get you anywhere.

Reform Judaism is the least restrictive in terms of dress and there is no separation of the sexes during the ceremony and reception.

Some other elements of a Jewish wedding you’ll notice are the chuppah, Ketubah, and the breaking of glass. The chuppah is a canopy that symbolizes the home the couple will be making together. Jewish brides walk down the aisle first, followed by the groom, both accompanied by their parents. The bride is meant to walk around the groom seven times, to represent the seven days of creation. We are all familiar with the symbolism of giving a ring, but the Jewish ceremony is also sealed by the reading of the Ketubah, or marriage contract. The groom’s responsibilities to his bride are outlined. Then the seven blessings are recited and wine is drunk.

Lastly, a glass is placed on the floor and the groom breaks it. This signals the end of the marriage ceremony and you can join everyone in shouting out “Mazel Tov!” which means congratulations.

After that, it's party time!

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Yussel’s Place is a premier retailer of fine Judaica, Jewish gifts, Art, gifts for Jewish holidays and celebrations, gifts for the Jewish home, bar mitzvah gifts and Jewish wedding gifts. Their online store can be found at www.yusselsplace.com or visit their brick and mortar store in Merrick, New York. Call them toll-free at (855) 987-7357.

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