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January 30, 1993 - Image 44

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-01-30

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(continued from page 41)

synagogues, often both bride and groom
come up to the Torah and receive the special
blessing, says Rabbi Irwin Groner of Con-
gregation Shaarey Zedek. Many rabbis per-
sonalize the standard blessing, mentioning
the couple's relationship to the synagogue
and inviting the families of the couple to stand
with them to recite the Shehechiyanu bless-
ing, said for any special occasion.
Some Reform synagogues celebrate the
Ufruf at a Friday evening service, even though
the Torah is not read. The couple is invited to
stand with the rabbi before the open Ark while
the rabbi recites the blessing. In this way, they
can give the couple more attention and the
ceremony more prominence.
A few Reconstructionist rabbis add other
innovations to enhance the significance of the
traditionally simple ceremony. Rabbi Leila
Gal Berner of Congregation Beth Israel of
Media, Pa., uses the Ufruf as a time for teach-
ing and learning about a subject that features
prominently in her premarital counseling
the differences in background, personality
and style, that a couple brings to their mar-
riage. She encourages the couple to view their
individual traits and habits as treasures in
which to delight, rather than as areas of ten-
Rabbi Berner connects this appreciation of
differences to the Havdalah ceremony, which
traditionally separates the Shabbat from the
rest of the week. "Havdalah focuses on dif-
ferentiation and how that quality is blessed,"
she explains. "This ceremony is about cele-
brating and valuing our differences."
She also introduces the couple to the tra-
dition of the Se'udah Shelishit, the 'Third
Meal" on Shabbat afternoon, at which the rab-
bi teaches Torah. Together, they design a
Se'udah-Shelishit-Havdalah-Ufruf. The cou-
ple teaches the Torah portion of the week, re-
lating it to themselves and their relationship,
and she teaches portions of the Talmud and
Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) which fo-
cus on marriage.
"Our Ufruf was about the theme of bal-
ance," elaborates Ron Romoff, who, with now
Joyce, conducted their Ufruf with Rabbi
Berner on August 11, 1990. "It was about be-
ing prepared for both the good and bad things
that happen in life." Joyce Romoff says that
the Ufruf— which was the first time that she,
a woman, had a voice in a religious ceremo-
ny— was also the first time that she appreci-
ated the meaningfulness of the prayers. "It

(continued on page 44)



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