Thursday, February 16, 2012

CHUPA: Overview of the Jewish wedding ceremony.

 Technically, the Jewish wedding ceremony consists of two different steps. 1. kiddushin (a.k.a. irusin) and 2. Chupa (a.k.a.nisu-in).
Today we will describe the kiddushin.
There is no perfect translation for the word kiddushin in this context, but the closest will be "formal engagement".  

A brief historical background will help. 
In ancient times, the kiddushin use to be done one year before the Chupa. At that moment the groom would consecrate the bride as his future wife.  The kiddushin was performed by the groom, giving a ring to the bride, pronouncing the words hare at mekudeshet li  (Behold, you are thereby consecrated to me...) and the correspondent blessings.  The kiddushin is a formal procedure, a kinyan (act of acquisition) by which the couple becomes legally espoused, but not yet married.  Since they were not married yet after the kiddushin, they would still live each one in his and her parents house, and they will not live together as husband and wife. If they wished to separate, they had to undergo a process of formal divorce known as Get.  
During that year the families will prepare the chupa and especially all what was necessary for the party, the festive meal, the dowry, the dresses, etc.

Two things have changed from those days:
1. Today, for practical reasons the kiddushin are done simultaneously with the chupa, as part of the wedding ceremony, and not one year in advance.
2. Jewish communities have adopted different ways to re-celebrate an engagement ceremony, where the day of the wedding is announced and the couple is formalized as such (in our community is known as: shir lama'alot).   This engagement is not mandatory and obviously does not have the legal validity of the kiddushin. It is just a custom or Minhag, but very esteemed and widely accepted in every Jewish community. 

Sharia indoctrination in  America's public schools?         
Watch this presentation till the end and judge for yourself.