Rites of passage: marriage

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In Jewish thought, marrying is desirable and bringing up a family is considered to be one of the most important things someone can do. This wedding takes place under a canopy held up by four poles. This represents the home they will create (the centre of Jewish life), which should be open to guests and outward looking.

A Jewish wedding can take place anywhere and does not need to happen in a synagogue, but is always a religious ceremony. A wedding cannot happen on Shabbat or festival days. A ring is given, the marriage contract is read and a cup of wine is shared.

The ceremony, whilst often conducted by a rabbi, is simply a contract between two individuals and blessed by God.



Divorce is possible in the Jewish religion. It is necessary that both partners agree that the marriage is over. Once they have agreed this, a document of divorce is given by the Beth Din (House of Judgement) to the man, who then gives it to the woman. They are then free to remarry religiously.

Divorce is not taken lightly, given the importance of family in the Jewish tradition.