If the groom is learned, and it is convenient, he may also be invited to recite the Haftarah, the reading from the Prophets which follows the Torah portion. When the groom leaves the bima (alter) after he has finished his recitations, children in the congregation will customarily shower him with nuts, raisins, and candy, a symbol for the wish that married life be sweet. Close family and friends are usually invited to attend and the groom’s family will typically sponsor a kiddush following the service.
Traditionally, on a Torah reading soon before his wedding, a groom is given the honor of reciting these blessings.
Torah readings take place on Shabbat, Mondays, Thursdays, and Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the month), and an aufruf may take place on any of these occasions. Most often, however, the aufruf occurs on the Shabbat immediately prior to the wedding.
Traditionally, a bride makes a gift of a new tallit to her groom prior to their wedding. This symbolizes the formation of a new, shared Jewish household. Often, the groom will first use this tallit on the occasion of the aufruf. Some also hold that the groom should wear an outfit of new clothes on the day of his aufruf.
According to Orthodox authorities only men are allowed to recite the blessings on the Torah, and thus only the groom takes part in the aufruf. Many rabbis in other traditions permit both men and women to recite these blessings, and thus brides may have the option of partaking in this ceremony along with their grooms.
The custom of honoring special privileges to a groom before his wedding is said to date back to King Solomon.
As an alternative to the aufruf, in some Reform congregations there is a ceremony which takes place on the Friday evening prior to the wedding, during which the bride and groom are both blessed.
The custom of honoring special privileges to a groom before his wedding is said to date back to King Solomon. He had a gate to the Temple specially constructed to honor briderooms. Well-wishers would stand by the gate and bless the men as they walked through it. Once the Temple was destroyed, rabbis maintained this tradition of honoring grooms by inviting them to partake of special honors.