What is a ketubbah? The Jewish marriage contract dating back to ancient times is called the Ketubbah. The Ketubah is usually printed in a very beautiful, artistic, and creative way as a keepsake document for the bride and groom and an heirloom to pass on.
The literal translation of ketubah is "it is written." The Ketubah, dating back over 2000 years, is one of the first legal documents giving financial and legal rights to women. It is written in Aramaic and traditionally is read aloud during the wedding ceremony.
The traditional or historical ketubah is a binding legal document which catalogs a husband’s obligations to his wife, and makes provisions for her protection in the event of divorce or her husband’s death. The earliest extant ketubah dates from circa 440 B.C.E.
The traditional ketubah text has remained basically unchanged for centuries, and it is the text utilized at Orthodox weddings. The Conservative movement added a clause, known as the Lieberman Clause, to the traditional Aramaic text that requires a husband to grant his wife a religious divorce upon obtaining a civil divorce. (This makes it possible for each party to remarry under Jewish law.)
Today's Reform movement typically does not use the traditional text. Instead, Reform texts reflect the movement's more equal treatment of men and women and incorporate mutual affirmations and promises. Reform texts do not qualify as legal documents but, rather, serve more as a statement of the couple's vows to each other.
Click on picture below to see enlarged photo.
Suggested links for more information on ketubot (plural of ketubah), Jewish marriage, & weddings:
Our Kettubah Story One would think that after selling several ketubot (plural of ketubah), the artist that we selected to create ours would at least have the proper text. After weeks (months really) of checking and rechecking the text, sending the proof back time and time and time again, one might hope that our names were spelled correctly right? I have to wonder how many, technically, void wedding contracts are out there as a result of that particular artist.
As a result of this back and forth, attempting to perfect the legal contract that would bind us in marriage, our ketubah needed to be printed on low quality paper (the printer was closed for the weekend by the time it was actually ready), on the artist's printer at home. But it was okay, we were told that the artist was unhappy with the print and wanted to redo it and send the remake to us.
(What we didn't count on was being charged not only for the overnight shipping, but then charged full price for the second kettubah (which needed different text for a replacement version to be legally binding).
Regardless of the quality, or lack of, it was still my ketubah and I was going to guard it well. You see, my parents ketubah had been rolled up in the table cloth just after their ceremony, never to be seen again. (I never knew that the one hanging in the dining room was not the original.) I was determined not to have the same thing happen. So, at the brunch the next day, we put the ketubah on top of a tv cabinet to be out of the way and unable to be rolled into a table cloth of any kind.
We now have a new family tradition, the ketubah must be trashed and replaced...yes...it was cleared with the trash at the brunch. But, never fear...it was being replaced by the artist...or so I thought.
Here we are a year later, as I write this, and the walls of my home are still ketubah-less. (But I have a blank check to me from my husband until it is replaced.) We do have a plan though. A friend of ours has offered to be our scribe in the creation of a new, and correct, ketubah. (awesome.)
Rather than spending months searching for an artist that I know I'll love and that I can count on, per my husband's suggestion, we have decided to go with a different artist. Me.
Our new ketubah is in the works. I'll post pictures when it is finished.
Oh, and by the way, one of the witnesses spelled his name wrong which made our ketubah void. Good thing it was thrown away.