circa 1905 advertisement for Chocolat Poulain which depicts a Jewish wedding.

Jewish marriage involves many traditions, traditionally a matchmaker would help arrange a marriage but in most modern Jewish communities this is no longer the case. Traditionally there was a dowry paid by the groom’s family to the bride’s family as was the case in Christian families in historic times. Today only the most traditional Jewish communities still arrange marriages this way. A marriage contract called a ketubah is drawn up.

There are two parts to the wedding ceremony itself, the first is the betrothal when a plate is broken to symbolise the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The bride walks round the groom many times and the groom gives her a ring telling her that she is sanctified to him under the laws of Moses and Israel. The second ceremony is generally held directly after the first but in the past the two ceremonies were often held a year apart. For the second ceremony the bride and groom stand under a canopy to symbolise the home that they will make together. They recite seven marriage blessings, drink wine, then the groom breaks a glass to symbolise again the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Afterwards the bride and groom retire together to a private room for a few minutes in seclusion.

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