A few days ago I mentioned that friends who were getting married “had an aufruf.” I gave a link to definition, but thought this was a nice opportunity to say more about Jewish wedding customs.
Aufruf is Yiddish for “calling up.” Ashkenazic synagogues often call the groom up for an aliyah to the Torah on the Shabbat before the wedding. In liberal congregations, the couple is usually called up together. They have an aliyah, which means that they chant the blessings before and after a section of the Torah reading.
After the reading, the rabbi may offer a mishebeyrach (literally “May the One who blessed,” a prayer) for the couple. Usually then there’s singing and clapping. The YouTube video above is the usual song “Siman Tov uMazal Tov,” often sung at simchas (happy occasions).
Siman Tov uMazal Tov uMazal Tov uSiman Tov (3x)
Hey lanu, y-hey lanu, y-hey lanu, uv’y’hol Yisrael (3x)
A good sign and good luck, and good luck, and a good sign (3x)
May this be on all of us and on all of Israel! (3x)
In Sephardic and Mizrachi congregations, this is done on the Shabbat after the wedding.
So if you are invited to an aufruf, know that (1) it will take place in the middle of a Torah service and (2) If you clap along with the song, that’s good enough!