A “Auf Ruf” is an Aliyah, for the honor of being “called up” to the Torah during a worship service at a temple, synagogue and or a location where the entire family can gather together for this pre-wedding Jewish custom.
“An Auf Ruf Aliyah is a time-honored Jewish wedding tradition for brides and grooms to be blessed in the presence of the Torah for a blessing for their marriage with family and friends”
This is a pre-wedding Jewish custom for the bride and grooms to be blessed a week, two weeks, or the week of their wedding day on Shabbat.
A Reform Temple, the Torah service is usually read Friday, Erev Shabbat. For a Conservative Shul, the Auf Ruf takes place during Shabbat morning services. When a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah is taking place on Shabbat morning in the main sanctuary, a second worship service in another location of the building can take place. Providing, additional clergy are on staff for that congregation.
The Aliyah consists of reciting the blessings before and after the Torah is read by the Rabbi. After the reading of the Torah, the Rabbi will then bless the bride and grooms for their upcoming Jewish Wedding Simcha (celebration of their marriage).
After the Rabbi’s blessing, the joyous custom for families and friends is to toss “soft” wrapped candy “at” the bride and groom. This custom offers the blessing to the wedding couple to have “a sweet and joyful marriage.” “Soft” candy is stressed because no one wants to injure the bride and groom before their wedding. The soft candy is usually wrapped in wedding color tulle with ribbon and carried in a basket. The candy is passed around before the Rabbi finishes the personal blessing to the bride and groom.
When the bride and grooms not affiliated with a temple or synagogue it is permissible to have an on-location Auf Ruf Aliyah and worship service. For example, the families reserve a conference room at the local hotel. For spring and summer weddings, a backyard for a garden service would be a nice touch. The Rabbi that is marrying the couple can provide this worship service as long as they have a Torah. The Rabbi will give a D’var Torah (teach the Torah portion of the week) and how it pertains to the bride and groom in honor of their wedding. The worship service can be put together as a special handout as a wedding keepsake for the couple and their guests. This is not a long worship service, but specific prayers for Shabbat are required to be recited with a Minyan (minimum 10).
The etiquette on who to include for this Jewish custom is both sides of the immediate families including Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. Of course, the wedding party would be included. Depending on how close to the wedding day, out-of-town guests that traveled in for the wedding should be invited. This is an opportunity for the bride and grooms to relax a little and enjoy the festivities, their families, friends for their upcoming Simcha.