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Ketuv is closing up shop! Last orders should be placed by September 1st, 2017.

Why the Ketubah is NOT Just Another Thing to Cross Off the List

posted by Arielle Angel on January 18, 2012

Your ketubah signing, not the ceremony, is what precedes your first married moments.

I was in a Judaica store the other day, visiting my ex Jewish studies teacher who works at the counter. A couple came in looking for a ketubah. After a cursory glance through the pile of ketubot in a corner of the store, they brought one up to the register. My teacher tried to explain to them what they were buying– the text, who the artist was. The couple listened impatiently, until the groom-to-be finally said, “Listen, our rabbi said we needed either an Orthodox or a Conservative text. We’re just trying to cross this off the list.” I happened to be nearby, so I asked them if they planned to hang up the ketubah. “Well, yeah,” said the groom. Then he turned to his bride and said, “So is this the one you want?” She shrugged. “Yeah, sure.” The challenge for those of us in the ketubah business can be summed up in the above interaction. We want to help you, the couples, to recognize the importance of your ketubah at the time that you’re buying it– that is, before your wedding ceremony. After the ceremony, no explanation will be necessary. You will have witnessed the significant role it played in your wedding–the signing of the witnesses, your dearest friends, in the intimate moments before your marriage. You will have felt this electrifying truth– that with or without the ceremony that follows, as soon as you sign the ketubah, YOU. ARE. MARRIED. Suddenly, this piece of paper will take on paramount importance– it will symbolize the newest moments of your married life, the small room where those closest to you joined in the joy of your union. (And this is just the emotional significance, to say nothing con the actual words in the contract– the husband’s promises to his wife, or the husband and wife’s promises to one another, as a married couple.) This document, with significance on a symbolic, sentimental, spiritual and legal level will also serve an aesthetic function– it will likely hang in your bedroom or living room for a long, long time. I’ll present you with two examples from my own inner circle. My father, who remarried before I got into this business, often comments how he loves his ketubah for what it represents, but not so much for how it looks. It was, for him and his wife before their marriage, “just another thing to cross off the list.” They have hung their ketubah in the hallway leading to their bedroom. They want to remember and feel that connection to their wedding day, and to their commitment to one another– they just don’t want to look at the thing all the time. Contrast that with my dearest friends Jordan and Lindsey. You’ve seen this bride before. She’s become our poster bride, because of the way that this couple really connected to their ketubah. Let me take you through the moments after their ketubah signing, pictorially. There was not a dry eye in the house. Even the groom was struggling not to lose it (sorry, dude).

(photos by Robby Campbell)

Lindsey told me just what she wanted in her ketubah and I executed it, with a few surprises. They have hung the ketubah opposite their bed, where it is the first thing they see in the morning, and the last thing they see before they go to sleep (aside from one another, of course). Jordan said, “Bride and groom become husband and wife once the ketubah is signed, and on our wedding day, the significance of the signing was palpable due in large part to the beauty of our ketubah. It is a moment we will never forget, one of the happiest of our lives. We look at our ketubah, and it reminds us of our perfect day.” After the flowers wilt, the delicacies are eaten, the white dress is in plastic, the ketubah will be there: it will hang in your bedroom as long as you’re married. Your photos and your wedding video may grace your shelf until someone– probably your children, and probably only a few times, max– will want to look at them but, again, your ketubah will be there, on your wall, out in the open, a constant reminder. Still think the ketubah is just another thing to cross off the list?  

Hello, world! Here we are!

posted by Arielle Angel on August 2, 2011

We’re Ketuv, a new business offering a fine art option in ketubahs.

For the uninitiated, a ketubah is a decorative Jewish marriage contract, signed at the wedding to unite the couple. But it’s not just for Jews anymore. In recent years, the ketubah has become a powerful statement of partnership for all couples.

We got to thinking: why do most ketubahs look just the same when there are so many unique couples, and so many talented artists?

Ketuv’s stand-out launching line features ketubahs by a diverse and innovative group of artists, with dynamic careers outside the Judaica and commercial sphere. We guide each artist in applying their studio practice to the ketubah tradition, without compromising their aesthetic. The result is a stand-alone piece of art, whether it be a limited edition print or one-of-a-kind work on paper.

We invite you to check out our website to learn more about us, our artists, and our mission. Visit our shop to browse close to 30 limited edition prints by over 25 emerging and mid-career artists. Most of them are available on the site for custom commissions. Among the options, you’ll find wedding and anniversary artwork for same-sex, interfaith, non-denominational and non-Jewish couples, in addition to ketubahs for Jewish couples of all denominations.

GET INVOLVED!

As a business, we’re relying on our community to help us spread the word. We hope you’ll forward this post widely:

Engaged, or know someone who is? Check out our shop! Forward to your friends!

Artists: Interested in making a ketubah? Send a link to your website to artists@ketuv.com.

Rabbis and Wedding Planners: Help us get the word out! Contact us at info@ketuv.com and we’ll send you a stack of Ketuv postcards. We’d also love to meet with you (in person or digitally) to tell you about our product.

Press: Want to write a feature on Ketuv? Contact us at press@ketuv.com and we’ll send you our press kit.

By taking an inclusive approach to the ketubah text, and nestling it within a fresh piece of contemporary artwork, Ketuv is renovating the ancient tradition for the next generation.

Enjoy!
Arielle and Maya

Interfaith Ketubah Text

posted by Arielle Angel on July 1, 2011

Ketuv’s Interfaith text begins similarly to the traditional text of the ketubah, establishing who is marrying who, where and when. The main difference is that it leaves out direct references to the Jewish tradition. The body of the text was written by Ketuv, but draws heavily from the text created by the Association of Humanistic Rabbis. The accompanying Hebrew is a direct translation of the English text.

The truth is, there is no “standard” ketubah text for interfaith couples, and most “Interfaith” texts offered by ketubah companies are original compositions and are often even copyrighted (note: ours are open source!).

Although we call the text below our “Interfaith” text, please be aware that because there is no “standard”, you should always consult with your rabbi or officiant to see if s/he has any specific recommendations. For example, our “Reform” ketubah text may be more appropriate for interfaith couples who are being married by a rabbi and who are making a commitment to keeping a Jewish home. If your rabbi or officiant has small and specific amendments to our text, please let us know. We will likely be able to accommodate them.

The following text is also available and translated in the Hebrew for gay and lesbian couples. For same-sex couples, the signature spaces for “Bride” and “Groom” will be labeled for “Beloveds,” but we can accommodate any alternate or preferred wording.

On some ketubot, this text is available in an “English Only” form.

You can browse our ketubot in our ketubah shop.