On March 26, 2012 a traditional Jewish wedding was held between Mussie Matusof (above) and Mendel Rosenblum. In Orthodox Jewish marriages, the groom veils the bride before the ceremony, reminiscent of a biblical tale. Here, Mussie Matusof is reading the Psalms after being veiled. She chose an opaque veil as a symbol to her friends, family and new husband that she is marrying in full faith.
Standing beneath the traditional wedding chuppah, Rabbi Menachen Matusof holds a candle as he watches his veiled daughter walk down the aisle toward him. To behind his is the father of the groom, Rabbi Yoseph Rosenblum (left), the groom Mendel Rosenblum (centre) and Rabbi Laine (right), the grandfather of the bride. The groom is dressed in a Kitl (literally meaning “little coat”), a sacred article of clothing to symbolize the holiness of his wedding day.
Once a Jewish wedding reaches its close, the wedding party erupts in shouts of “Mazel tov!” meaning “good luck.” Friends and family pull the bride and groom into tight embraces and the men begin to join hands and dance in a circle to give joy to the bride and groom.
A teacher for thirty years, Debby Miller (right) plays the accordion for her preschool class at the Jewish day school, Akiva Academy. The song is played in honour for the upcoming Passover holiday, which celebrates the Jewish exodus from Egypt. Signing, “Hi ho, hi ho, goodbye to Pharaoh,” the class dances in a circle. Binyamin Habot looks up as Sarah Basya Andrews and Benjamin Ling follow behind. Attendance at Akiva Academy has almost doubled in the past three years, moving from 34 children in 2009 to 60 this year.
The House of Jacob Mikveh Israel is an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in the south of Calgary, with history extending back to 1909. While standing in the centre of the synagogue, Rabbi Yisroel Miller sings out the words of the Prayer Book. Ever since he moved to Calgary from Boston in 2009, he has seen a surge in local attendance.
In Jewish tradition, the Torah scroll is a 3000-year-old, handwritten account of the first five books of the Jewish bible. The word of God is so sacred in Jewish tradition that a single mistake in the inscription makes the Torah unfit for use. Additionally, a metal pointer, called a yad, must be used so no hands degrade the parchment. This Torah being read by Rabbi Miller was donated to the House of Jacob in 2009 in celebration of the 100th year anniversary of the congregation.
Saturday evening marks the end of the Sabbath, and the Jewish people mark this farewell when the stars come out with Hav Dallah: literally meaning “separation.” Surrounded by wine, a candle and spices, a prayer is recited. Rabbi Miller described the candle as a statement of the human ability to couple with God and take his energy with them through their weekly labours.
Once the candles have been prayed over, Hav Dallah is put to rest with the Sabbath. Here in his home, Rabbi Miller is pictured blowing out the candle and draping the room in darkness. This action signifies the close of the Sabbath.