Shabbat Kallah: The Bride's Sabbath

There is a long-standing custom for the friends of the groom and his family members and the friends of the bride and her family to spend time with the bride and groom separately on this Shabbat, bringing them support and joy. This is especially true if the bride and groom are not seeing each other during this Shabbat before the wedding. Today, if the bride will not be at the ufruf, this Shabbat with the bride has come to be known as the Shabbat Kallah, the bride's Sabbath. The same Shabbat spent with the groom is known in many circles as a Shabbat Chatan, the groom's Sabbath.

In traditional Ashkenazi Jewish circles where the bride and groom do not usually see each other, the Shabbat Kallah has taken on much importance as a celebration focused on the bride to complement the ufruf.

Usually a Shabbat Kallah is marked by a gathering at the home of the bride or one of her close relatives or friends. Sometimes the invitation is an open one for anyone in her community who is close with her. Everyone gathers around the bride to give support and love. This time just before the wedding can be fraught with anxiety, but Shabbat should be a time of rest and joy. Stories about the bride are told, food and drinks are consumed, and words of Torah pertaining to wedding joy are usually shared.

If the kallah and chatan, the bride and groom, are not seeing each other for the week or Shabbat before the wedding but the bride wants to be available to go to the ufruf, you could consider holding an ufruf in the synagogue two weeks before the wedding and a Shabbat Kallah the week before.

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