Aufruf, meaning “calling up” in Yiddish, is the custom of calling a bridegroom (chatan) up to the Torah on the Shabbat before his wedding. After he has finished the blessings, people shout “Mazeltov” and throw sweets. Children rush to gather armfuls of them. Often the bride has a Shabbat Kallah at the same time, which is an informal send-off by her friends into married life.
The Midrash describes King Solomon’s Temple as having a gate especially for chatanim. When they entered, people would bless them. In post-Temple times, an aufruf is an opportunity to bless the couple before their wedding.
Sephardic Jews call the groom to the Torah on the Shabbat after the wedding. Many Ashkenazi Israelis have adopted this custom, as a post-wedding Shabbat Chatan can double as a “Shabbat Sheva Berachot”: it is a time when both families can celebrate together and have the chance to get acquainted in the afterglow of the wedding.
Rabbi Julian Sinclair