A Ketubah is the Hebrew term for a Jewish wedding contract, traditionally given by the groom to the bride on their wedding day. Originally (and in traditional versions today), it outlined the groom's obligations to his new bride, and serves as a sort of prenuptial agreement to protect the woman's rights in marriage. In its original usage, the Ketubah was strictly a legal document. It was a set text, written in Aramaic and signed by two kosher witnesses, standard practice for contracts in Jewish tradition. The bride and groom, and even the rabbi or officiant, were not required to sign.
Today, Ketubahs have evolved from strictly legal documents to beautiful examples of Jewish ceremonial art. They are becoming much more mainstream and artistic.
Why might I want one?
A Ketubah can be a very personal reminder of your wedding day and your love for each other. Many couples choose to incorporate a Ketubah into their wedding ceremony because of its artistic value rather than because of its legal purpose. Couples often choose their Ketubah as the first piece of art they purchase for their new home together.
What if I'm not religious/Jewish/being married by a rabbi?
While it is true that a Ketubah is a Jewish custom, there is no reason why you need to have a religious, or even a Jewish, ceremony to have a one. In fact, a Rabbi is not even required to perform a Jewish marriage, and was not needed to actually sign the Ketubah. Today, it is becoming more common for Rabbis (and the bride and groom!) to sign the Ketubah. I have made Ketubahs for orthodox, conservative, reform, and interfaith ceremonies. Because I do all the calligraphy, I can use any texts or languages you supply. If you want a Ketubah with no "religious" connotations using just your wedding vows, I can definitely design something that works for you!
I'm religious. Is there any halachic restrictions against a woman making our Ketubah?
Because the Ketubah was originally a legal document, there is no restriction against a woman writing it. Women were not restricted from writing legal documents in Jewish tradition, but they were limited in their ability to serve as a legal witness. This is why the traditional requirement on an orthodox Ketubah is to have two shomer shabbat men serve as witnesses to the union. If you have questions, please get in touch- I would be happy to discuss your concerns.
What is your background?
I have always been creative, and have dabbled in many different artistic mediums. I grew up in the Modern Orthodox community in Cleveland, and speak Hebrew. I love being able to connect my two passions, Judaism and art, and am continuously honored to work with couples on such personal and important life-cycle events. How far in advance should I get in touch?
Ideally, you should get in touch about 3 months at the latest before your event. However, the earlier you start thinking about your Ketubah, the more time we have to work on the design, and it can be one less thing you need to worry about in the weeks leading up to your wedding. If you live out of town, we will also need to allow time for shipping.
What is your process?
When you contact me, I will ask you a few questions to get to know you, your fiance, and your style, better. I'll want to know what types of Ketubahs you've seen and loved, whether you are thinking about a painted Ketubah or a paper cut, colors you gravitate toward, and what type of text you are thinking about. I am always happy to be in touch with your officiant directly, to offer suggestions and design advice, and to go back and forth with the design until we reach something we are all on board with. I will also need to know your full names (in English and in Hebrew if necessary), the date of your wedding, and the location of the ceremony.
I will then work on some sketches based on our conversations, and e-mail them to you. We will go back and forth with the design until we come up with something that you love. Once we settle on text and wording, I will send everything formatted over to you and your officiant to double check for errors and to make sure everything is the way you want it!