Jewish marriage rite is fascinating and has a strongsymbolic connotation. In fact, marriage for the Jewish religion re-establishes the unity of Adam (which includes the two principles of the masculine and feminine) and guarantees the continuity of the Jewish people through procreation.
When a couple decides to marry following the Jewish rite, they must communicate it to the office of the Rabbi with whom the date of the marriage and the whole previous phase will be established (the preparatory meetings, a sort of premarital course as happens for example with the Catholic rite). Once the date has been chosen and the publications are made, they proceed with the Ketubà drafting, the prenuptial contract that protects particularly the future wife, and that will be signed during the marriage.
Where Jewish marriage is celebrated in Italy
Usually, it is celebrated in the synagogue, but the choice of other places is not excluded, for example in the open air. Since the Jewish concept of marriage refers to the sanctification of the man and the woman, the walls of a temple (mikdash me’at) can be both those of a synagogue and of a house.
In Italy, the synagogues are concentrated mainly in the central-north, where the ancient ghettos are mostly situated. In these areas there are some of the most beautiful Italian synagogues:
Synagogues in Italy are very special and beautiful. They have richly decorated interiors from different eras and architectural styles ranging from baroque to rococo to neoclassical.
At home or outdoors
Recently the tendency to celebrate marriages with Jewish rite outdoors or at home has spread. In fact, even a private home can be used to organize a marriage ceremony, because as the synagogue is called Mikdash Me’at. Whatever is the choice of the couple, it is fundamental that the place dedicated to the ceremony is guided by the principle of Kedushah.
In order to have civil effects in Italy, Jewish marriage must have certain characteristics that combine with specific formal actions and solemn rituals that determine its validity for the Jewish religion. As we mentioned above, the drafting of the Kedushah, for example, is mandatory and the ritual must be respected. Let’s see how the ceremony takes place.
On the day of the wedding, the couple will go to the place of celebration, in the synagogue for example, where the wedding procession will be waiting for them outside (which must be at least 10 people, because it is the minimum number of a community).
The wedding ceremony takes place under the traditional red velvet gold-bordered canopy, called Huppah (wedding canopy) but also Kiddushin (sanctification).
The rabbi, or whoever will officiate the ceremony, hands the cup of wine to the bride. The groom by pronouncing the blessing and the groom puts the ring on the finger of the bride pronouncing the traditional formula.
Then in front of the sacred text of the Torah, the couple with the rabbi and parents will pronounce the last blessings.
It is at the end of the ceremony that the groom breaks the glass of wine on the ground. This is a symbolic act indicating the memory of the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem and the removal of the Jewish people from the Holy Land. This ritual serves to purify the couple reborn without sin to start a new life together.
After wedding ceremony, banquet party begin. First of all, there will be the blessing of Challah, the traditional woven bread that symbolizes the union of families.
And then the party begins! Jewish marriages are full of joy and happiness. Think of good food, obviously Kosher, and of traditional dances such as the Hora, where the bride and groom hold the edges of a handkerchief that unites them and are lifted up on chairs and carried around the room to music.
At the auspicious shout Mazel Tov, the party continues.
It is important that foods consumed during the banquet were Kosher, which means “appropriate”. Kosher is, in fact, a set of religious rules that govern the nutrition of all observant Jews and determine the foods and their preparation. These rules derive directly from the Bible, the Torah.
What are the main rules?
Meat and fish
– Meat and dairy products cannot be mixed.
– The meat permitted is that of ruminant animals and with the hoof split in two: cow, calf, sheep, goat, for example. And not the rabbit, the pig, the horse and the flesh of impure animals like some marine animals (those without scales and without fins, like crustaceans and molluscs), birds of prey and reptiles.
Milk and derivatives
Milk and dairy products from any kosher animal are themselves kosher, but cannot be consumed or mixed with meat.
Judaism is one of the religions that has reached an agreement with the Italian State for the legal validity of wedding ceremonies. To obtain the validity it is necessary that the minister who celebrates the rite is an Italian citizen and has the qualification certified by the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.
As with Catholic marriages, it is necessary to proceed with the transcription of the marriage records in the registers of the Civil State.
After the ritual function, the minister must read the articles of the Italian Civil Code that regulate Italian citizen marriage.
Jewish marriages must never be celebrated on Sabbath, that is, from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday, nor during religious holidays, Passover or in the last three weeks of summer.
From a design point of view we have the possibility of creating important settings, in particular the Chuppah, the wedding canopy which, depending on whether it is inside the synagogue or outside, becomes the focal point for the ceremony.