Tag Archives: Jewish weddings

Sew Jewish Weddings

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Are you thinking about making your own huppah? Or sewing your own veil? You’ll find instructions for these Jewish DIY wedding classics, as well as 16 other essential Jewish sewing projects, in the new PDF book Sew Jewish: The 18 Projects You Need for Jewish Holidays, Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebrations and Home by Huppahs.com founder, Maria Bywater.

Get it in the SewJewish shop on Etsy!

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Sneak Peek at the Sew Jewish Book Cover

We reposted this from SewJewish.com – to subscribe for the 18% discount on the book, sign up for the newsletter at SewJewish.com.

Sew Jewish

Sew Jewish Book - The 18 projects you need for Jewish holidays, weddings, bar/bat mitzvah celebrations, and home

We’re still officially in draft mode, so the first person to spot any spelling mistake on this new cover for the Sew Jewish book gets a free copy. But we think we have a final version here, and we’re kind of excited. The design shows off six of the 18 projects in the book: a kippah (yarmulke), tallit with tallit bag, a matzah cover for Passover, a sweet little decorative Shalom pillow, and a wedding chuppah. The Sew Jewish book comes out in digital form in October at Amazon.com (Kindle) and the SewJewishShop.com (PDF). The blockbuster movie can’t be too far behind.

The subtitle sums it up: The 18 Projects You Need for Jewish Holidays, Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebrations, and Home.

As a thank you to all the early supporters of Sew Jewish, we’re offering newsletter subscribers a discount of 18% –one percent for every project in the book– and…

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How to Make Stands for Wedding Huppah Poles [Video]

At Huppahs.com we specialize in traditional hand-held wedding huppahs. Occasionally get questions about stands for turning our hand-held huppahs into huppahs that stand on their own. We thought we’d show you a DIY version of stands we’ve used in the past for local huppah rentals. Because they’re made from concrete, they’re not something that we can ship. But if you’re interested in making stands that work with our huppahs, this video shows you how to make stands that have worked well for us.

We made this video in cooperation with our sister site, SewJewish.com.

In this video you’ll learn:

* The types of containers that work best as stands.
* What the ideal mix of concrete and water looks like for making strong concrete.
* How to put it all together and get a good snug fit between your poles and the stands.

You’ll find more information about the Organza Huppah featured in this video as well as huppah poles for rent and for sale at Huppahs.com.

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You Say Macaron, I Say Macaroon – Chocolate Cherry Macaroon

macaroon recipes

For lots of folks a wedding isn’t a wedding without a display stand stacked with macaroons, those tasty meringue cookies popularized by the French – and which they call macarons. But if you’re having a Jewish wedding, how about serving your guests a distinctly Jewish macaroon? After all, macaroons enjoy an exalted status in the canon of Jewish confections, perfected by generations of Jewish home bakers for the Passover holiday.

Dan Cohen explicates fifty variations of the cookie in his newly released cook book, The Macaroon Bible.

Among the macaroon recipes included: cappuccino, salted caramel, and chocolate cherry. Most of the recipes are dairy, with one vegan/parve alternative.

And macaroons are freezable, a make-ahead bonus for small, self-catered weddings. Ooh la la.

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I Found Your Thanksgivukkah Wedding Wine

kosher wineI’m not a wine expert, but last night our new sister site, Sew Jewish, co-hosted a wine and cheese tasting fundraiser for our local Chabad House, with a talk by painter and sculptor Tibor Spitz. For the wine tasting, the favorite by far of pretty much everyone at the event was a white wine: Herzog’s Orange Muscat. I’m not even an avid white wine drinker, but this I loved.

It’s ever so slightly sweet, and it’s orange tones would go great with a celebratory turkey dinner. Just in time for Thanksgivukkah and this year’s Thanksgiving-Hanukkah wedding weekend.

The wine is kosher, of course. The official program, written by someone who knows more about wines than I do, described it thusly:

This wine was grown in the California sun and harvested at peak ripeness. The result is a bold and aromatic orange muscat, offering a rich essence of grape, apricot, and orange peel. A smooth and full-bodied texture ushers in notes of fresh pineapple and passion fruit, softly finished by hints of toast.

For serving a crowd, it could get pricey, so to even things out couple it with Kedem Estates Classic Red, which is an easy drinking red wine that’s very easy on the wallet and makes a great house red.

Thanksgivukkah wedding menu options here.

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Our 7 Favorite Recipes for a Thanksgiving Hanukkah Wedding

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This year, a Thanksgiving weekend wedding means a Hanukkah wedding. Both mean good food. To celebrate the occasion, we gathered our favorite Autumn/Hanukkah wedding reception recipes:

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A Tip for Using Ribbons on Your Wedding Huppah

ribbons for wedding chuppah

Once you cut ribbon, the threads at the end can fray and look messy. Packing up the ribbon to get it to your wedding venue and tying the ribbon to your huppah can make the fraying worse. That’s not a fun look for your wedding. But you can prevent stray threads and keep your ribbons looking neat by sealing the ends with liquid fray check, which you can find it at fabric and craft stores.

After cutting the end of the ribbon neatly, apply fray check and let it dry. After it’s dry, trim the ribbon again to leave a strip of fray check that is no more than about 1/8″ (3mm) wide.

More tips for decorating your huppah with ribbons here.

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Who Can Hold the Huppah Poles?

Anyone can hold a huppah pole. There’s no Jewish law on this. Unless your wedding officiant limits who can hold the huppah poles, or your community has strong expectations that you want to meet, you can choose anyone you want.

For my own wedding, for example, which was an Orthodox ceremony, we had both men and women holding poles. Some of the huppah bearers were Jewish and some were not Jewish. In fact, asking someone who is not Jewish to hold a huppah pole can be a great way to include them in your wedding if your officiant requires that the other roles in the ceremony, such as reciting a blessing, be done only be someone who is Jewish.

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Who Stands Under the Huppah?

wedding at New York Prospect Park May 2012

The question of who stands under the wedding huppah is one of the more popular email questions we get at Huppahs.com. The answer is a matter of custom rather than Jewish law or strong tradition. Generally, the couple getting married and the officiant stand under the huppah. Parents and members of the wedding party stand to the sides.

Jewish Wedding, by Moritz OppenheimThe inclusion of the officiant under the huppah is a relatively new development. If you look at etchings of early huppah ceremonies from the Middle Ages, when huppahs as canopies first became part of the Jewish wedding ceremony, only the bride and groom stood under the huppah. This is consistent with the idea of the huppah representing the couple’s home and shared spiritual space.

Because we’re talking wedding custom rather than law, there is room for exceptions. At the wedding of ultra-orthodox royalty earlier this year, dozens of people stood under the huppah. But that huppah was probably at least 25 feet wide on each side. And they had 25,000 guests.

(Photo: Wedding at Brooklyn’s Prospect Boat House under an Organza Huppah. Thank you to mother of the groom, Nancy Gershman.)

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Planning a Restaurant Wedding? A Hand-held Huppah Is a Flexible Space Saver

East River Bar Brooklyn New York NY

This season at Huppahs.com we’re shipping an unprecedented number of wedding huppah rentals directly to restaurants. For couples planning small weddings, restaurants make great wedding venues. Decorating needs are minimal, and the caterer is already on site.

But space can be limited. If you’re using a huppah, you don’t want one that takes up valuable dance floor space and you don’t want to hold up the party while a crew dismantles it.

As I wrote recently on Twitter, for a small venue like a restaurant a hand-held huppah makes the perfect solution. It can be moved in and out of the ceremony space quickly and easily. Having people hold the huppah poles enhances the sense of intimacy of a small wedding. And for especially intimate spaces, Huppahs.com offers the option of short, 7-foot poles, which are a great alternative to generally taller, stand-alone huppahs.

Visit Huppahs.com’s website to check huppah availability for your wedding date.

Hat tip to Joe and Alanna for sharing the photo of their wedding reception at the East River Bar in Brooklyn, New York.

(Photo: Jacob Arthur)

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New! Wedding Huppah Canopies Now Available to Rent Without Poles

Simple elegant huppah
Well, this is big news! Huppahs.com now makes two of its popular wedding huppah canopies available to rent without poles. Perfect if you already have poles and are looking for a beautiful, high-quality canopy.

The Simplicity Canopy, pictured above, is fashioned from a high-quality bridal satin. The fabric’s subtle sheen and substantial hand create a simply elegant canopy that works wonderfully in any wedding venue.

Rent Ivory Silk Huppah CanopyThe Ivory Silk Canopy, shown in detail at the right, has the refined texture characteristic of 100% dupioni silk. The light ivory color cultivates a warm sophistication.

Get more details and find out if these canopies are available for your wedding date at Huppahs.com.

(Photo: Jason Weil for Huppahs.com. Location: Woodend Nature Sanctuary, Audubon Naturalist Society; Chevy Chase, Maryland)

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Give Your Ketubah VIPs Time to Track Down their Hebrew Names

Illustrated ketubah
Will the people who sign your marriage ketubah use their English or Hebrew names? It’s worth thinking about before everyone takes pen in hand on your wedding day. If it’s Hebrew, keep in mind that not everyone knows their Hebrew name off hand. They might need to pull out their bar or bat mizvah records or check with someone in the family. They’ll also need their father’s Hebrew name and, in some egalitarian communities, their mother’s name as well. Don’t forget to give your ketubah VIPs the time they might need to track down the info.

Find a lot of great info about signing the ketubah from the author of The Everything Jewish Wedding Book, Rabbi Hyim Shafner, here.

And here’s The Jewish Wedding Ceremony, Step by Step.

(Image: Illustrated ketubah dated pre-1911 from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University {PD-1923} via Wikimedia Commons)

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Happy Tu B’Av, Jewish Valentine’s Day

Almonds_Blossoms Isael
Happy Tu b’Av – that’s the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av! In ancient Israel, the Talmud says, unmarried women went out into the vineyards around Jerusalem to dance on Tu b’Av, as young men in search of brides watched. In the spirit of romance, here’s an excerpt from Marcia Falk’s poetic translation of the Bible’s love psalm: The Song of Songs:

…Come with me,
my love,
come away

For the long wet months are past,
the rains have fed the earth
and left it bright with blossoms

Birds wing in the low sky,
dove and songbird singing
in the open air above

Earth nourishing tree and vine,
green tree and tender grape,
green and tender fragrance

Come with me,
my love,
come away

(The Song of Songs 2:10-13)

Another romantic translation from Jewish writings here.

(Photo: Almond blossoms. Lehava Activity 2012 Pikiwiki Israel via Wikimedia Commons)

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Another Jewish Wedding Tradition You’ve Probably Never Heard Of – And a Koi Fish Video

Another nearly forgotten wedding custom from Jewish Life in the Middle Ages:

A live fish played a part in Oriental Jewish weddings, and the newly married pair leapt thrice over the bowl in which the fish disported itself.

Here Oriental refers to the Eastern Mediterranean, the area that now includes Southern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. I wish there were more details, but no. More from Isreal Abraham’s book here.

Why the video is important: Wedding planning requires an occasional mental health break. Koi is an official color of Fall 2013. It was time for me to post my first YouTube video.

Not ready to go back to work? Listen to a Little Jewish Wedding Music from The Huppah Project (Video)

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Bet You’ve Never Heard of these Jewish Wedding Customs

barley

In honour of the bridal pair an old Persian custom was followed in Talmudic times, and nuts and wheat were cast about the path in which they strode. Barley was sown in a flower vase a few days before the wedding as an emblem of fertility, and was thrown over the young couple, as in modern times.

Modern times? Well, if that’s not any modern times you’re familiar with, that’s because these descriptions of nearly forgotten Jewish wedding customs were written circa 1896, by Israel Abrahams for his book, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages. Thanks, Mr. Abrahams.

What do the Jewish bride and groom wear?

(Photo: From this week’s barley harvest, the first ever at 4 Pines Farm)

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Same-Sex Marriage, Same-Sex Ketubah

Same-sex wedding ketubah for two brides

Legal hurdles to same-sex marriage are falling across the country, but how do same-sex Jewish couples handle the Jewish legal marriage document, the ketubah, which traditionally lays out a man’s obligations to his wife? I asked Aliza Boyer, a Brooklyn-based ketubah artist whose clients increasingly include same-sex couples. She shares this:

In my experience thus far, same-sex couples gravitate to texts such as Rabbi Gordon Tucker’s Egalitarian Text, Rachel Adler’s Brit Ahuvim text, or any other text wherein the language is inherently more egalitarian, less gender-specific in nature–which in general tends to be more contemporary, less traditional texts. Even to the heterosexual couples I work with who express interest in less gender-specific and/or more egalitarian wording, I always suggest taking a look at the same-sex texts I offer because they are inherently moreso. Also, as far as I’m concerned and in my own practice, any text can be changed to read Bride/Bride or Daughter/Daughter, Groom/Groom or Son/Son, Partner and Partner, or anything else with which a couple–same-sex or otherwise–feels most comfortable. That being said, I do hope that new texts continue to be written especially for same-sex weddings.

A big thanks to Aliza for also sharing the photo above of a ketubah for two brides.

(Photo: Aliza Boyer, Ketubah Graphia)

Free Printable Templates for Tzedakah (Charity) Favor Cards

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Listen to a Little Jewish Wedding Music from The Huppah Project (Video)

Aviva Chernick and Aaron Lightstone, The Huppah Project, perform “Yishakeni” from their CD Under the Canopy:

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Potato Salad with a Twist for a Picnic Wedding Theme – Recipe (Kosher-Parve)

The growing summer heat reminds me how much I miss Kuwait, where I lived for four years and where my daughters were infants. Food takes me back there. I thought I’d share this recipe for potato salad with an Arab twist, great for summer get-togethers in the backyard, like a picnic-themed backyard wedding. The recipe comes from May Bsisu’s The Arab Table. To yield enough salad for a small wedding, I’ve supplemented May’s ingredient list with quantities that yield 40 servings.

Ingredients for Salatat Batata (Parve)

6 Servings (Quantities for 40 servings in parentheses)

  • 3 lbs. white potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (for 40 servings, 20 lbs.)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (1 2/3 cups)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (1 2/3 cups)
  • Salt, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper (3 Tablespoons)
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed (26 cloves)
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves (3 cups)

Instructions

Place potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover by 2 inches (for 40 servings, you’ll need a few pots or cook the potatoes in batches). Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain immediately and rinse under cold running water. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl.

Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, and shake vigorously to blend. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss with wooden spoons to coat. Garnish with the cilantro, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to four hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

If you prepare the salad a day ahead, do not add the garlic until just before serving.

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Summer, Time for Our Blissful Backyard Wedding Punch

Summer Bliss Wedding Punch with Watermelon and Gin
It’s summertime! Woo hoo! Which means it’s time to bust out our favorite Summer Bliss Wedding Punch. Never have watermelon and gin tasted so cool and refreshing. Find the recipe here. Find our instructions for the table garland decorations at DIY Weddings Magazine.

Hey, Joe, any watermelon in that backyard farm?

(Photo: Jason Weil for Huppahs.com)

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Mazal Tov! Rituals, Customs — and Readings — for Jewish Weddings

mazal tovIf you are looking for Jewish readings to incorporate into your wedding, Rabbi Michael Shire’s Mazal Tov! The Rituals and Customs of a Jewish Wedding includes a section of meditations about love and marriage collected from across the Jewish universe in. One of my favorites comes from The Baal Shem Tov, the great 18th century teacher of Jewish mysticism:

“From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, their streams of light flow together, and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being.”

Same-Sex Marriage, Same-Sex Ketubah

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Rediscovered Prenup Illustrates the Ancient Art of Digit Crunching (Video)


The New York Times reports that a recent project to digitize and match up more than 100,000 fragments of antique Jewish manuscripts has pieced together part of a prenuptial agreement between a woman named Faiza bat Solomon and a man identified so far only as “Son of a Buffoon.” In the document, Son of a Buffoon agrees to “abandon foolishness and idiocy,” and “not associate with corrupt men” or else pay his wife 10 gold dinars.

The Times article doesn’t provide the date for the prenup, but the document comes from the Cairo Geniza, a cache of documents that were created between the 9th and 19th centuries and discovered in Egypt in 1896.

Will the computer program help researchers reconstruct more of this prenup and provide additional insight into this relationship? For Son of a Buffoon, the digit crunching continues.

(The video above, by infolive.tv International a year ago, explains the project of digitizing and piecing together documents from the Cairo Geniza.)

Real Jewish Wedding: Natalie + Richard Wed Under an Ivory Silk Huppah in a New York City Park

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