Definitions and Explanations of Terms
There are different laws relating to the registration of marriages performed in synagogues (or elsewhere, pursuant to Jewish rites), depending on which area relevant Region of the British Isles:
The following relates to England and Wales.
SYNAGOGUE GROUPS & AFFILIATIONS
The principal groups are:
Many synagogues are not affiliated to any group. In these cases, details might only be provided in relation to their practices and beliefs e.g. Orthodox, Reform (See Listing of Independent Congregations),
Ashkenazi - Originally used to describe the Jews of Medieval Germany and Northern France (on the strength of a Talmudic passage, the word "Askenaz" is identified with Germany) or their descendants. Now generally used to describe the Jews of Central or Eastern European origin and their ritual.
The order and type of service ("nusach") may differ slightly at Ashkenazi synagogues. The one used by the vast majority of Ashkenazi synagogues in the UK is known as Nusach Ashkenaz. Another, Nusach Ari (or Ha'Ari) is used by a number of old or Chassidic congregations. It was compiled by Rabbi Isaac Luria in the sixteenth century. A third, Nusach Sefard, which is close to Nusach Ari, is the Ashkenazi nusach most widespread in Israel, and is used by a number of synagogues, including several established in the UK by Israelis, as well as by several old congregations.
Sephardi - Used originally to describe the Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin ("Spharad" is the Hebrew word for Spain) or their descendants. Now loosely used also to include all Jews of oriental origin and their ritual, other than the Yemenites.
Temani (Yemenite) - Jews from the Yemen (including Aden). Although often included as Sephardi, their ritual differs considerably from that of the Sephardi Jews.
GLOSSARY Of OTHER TERMS
chevra - a small congregation, frequently established by Jews of Eastern European origin. (plural - chevrot)
minyan - the quorum of at least ten Jewish men or boys (of at least 13 years of age) required for communal Jewish prayer. The term is also sometimes used to describe a small congregation that meets regularly for prayer. (plural - minyanim)
mohel - a person trained to perform the ritual act of circumcision according to the Jewish faith. (plural - mohelim)
shul - the Yiddish word for synagogue.
yeshivah - an academy of advanced Jewish religious study. (plural - yeshivot)
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