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Ketuv

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

We recently checked up on our Google Analytics, trying to figure out what keywords have brought you all to Ketuv.com. We realized that many of you found us by asking ketubah-related questions that we actually haven’t yet answered on our site. So we decided to cull the questions from our Analytics “search words” and answer them. Hope this helps! Please keep in mind that, as with many issues in Judaism, the answer depends on the religious observance of the asker, but we will try to answer from many different perspectives as best we can. Q: What happens if you lose your ketubah? A: According to Jewish law, if you lose your ketubah, a new ketubah must be written immediately, as it is forbidden for a couple to live together without their ketubah. The couple will appear before the rabbi and ask for a new ketubah, which will feature the date that the new ketubah was written, and not the date of the marriage. Of course, if your ketubah serves more of a cultural function than a legal/religious function in your lives, you may simply choose to buy another one, or wait until your anniversary to get an anniversary ketubah, like the ones featured on this site. Q: What happens if your ketubah has the wrong date? A: According to Jewish law, any major error in filling out the ketubah means that you must obtain a new ketubah in the manner described above. However, if your rabbi catches the mistake, s/he may choose simply to cross out or edit directly on top of the text. If you’re more concerned with the document’s accuracy than with a blemish on your ketubah text, then this may be the best option. Either way, it’s important to make sure you provide the ketubah company with the correct information, as verified with your rabbi, or that your rabbi has the correct information before he fills out your ketubah. Q: Who can fill out the ketubah? Does it have to be a rabbi? A: It is best for a rabbi familiar with Jewish law to fill out your ketubah, especially if you are religiously observant, although many ketubah companies (including this one) can personalize the text for you beforehand, which is also an acceptable option. If you choose to personalize your ketubah text beforehand, you should always ask for a proof of the final text and have it confirmed with your rabbi. If your ketubah is more of a memento or a cultural document, who you’d like to fill it out is up to you. Of course, if you choose a ketubah with Hebrew text, make sure there is someone on hand who can read and write Hebrew. Q: Who can sign the ketubah? Can more than two witnesses sign? Do the witnesses have to be Jewish? A: According to Jewish law, the witnesses must be two religiously observant Jewish men who are not related by blood to the bride and groom. However, if you’re not observant, it’s your choice who you would like to honor as a witness. We featured an interfaith ketubah on this blog that was signed by every wedding guest. Q: What are the husbandly duties outlined in the traditional ketubah text? A: The Orthodox and Conservative texts state that the husband is obligated to provide his wife with food, clothing and sex. The husband is also promising to pay his wife an agreed upon sum in the event of divorce or death. Many couples who are not religiously observant may choose to have a mutual agreement—one where the wife also takes on obligations towards her husband. Couples often write their own texts that reflect more expansive and personal ideas about the obligations of marriage. Q: What is the relationship between the ketubah and the get? A: A “get” is the document required to divorce by Jewish law. Your ketubah will have laid out some of the financial terms in the event of divorce, and may be referred to during the writing of the get. Otherwise, you do not need a ketubah to get a get. As long as one of the people in the couple is Jewish by birth, you can ask a rabbi for a get in the event of divorce. Q: How do you fill out a ketubah? A: Orthodox and Conservative Rabbis have handbooks and other resources for filling out ketubot. If you are using a text besides the accepted Orthodox or Conservative texts, you should receive fill-in instructions from your ketubah company. Ketuv provides fill-in directions with all of our ketubot. Q: Can you have a ketubah if one of the partners isn’t Jewish? A: Orthodox people do not believe in interfaith ketubahs, but then again they are unlikely to be in an interfaith marriage. For many Jews in interfaith relationships, interfaith ketubahs are a wonderful way to celebrate one’s roots, and are commonly available at most ketubah stores. Bonus question about chuppahs! Q: Can the chuppah be made out of any fabric or does it have to be a tallit? A: The chuppah can be made out of any fabric, and does NOT have to be a tallit. What’s more important is that it is made of four poles and is open on all sides.