All imagery by Blake Ezra Photography. This is part 2 of the 9-part Jewish Wedding Traditions Explained series.
In last week’s instalment of Jewish Weddings Explained, we looked at the varied ways in which Jewish couples prepare for their wedding, this week we’ll be looking at the Ketubah. The Ketubah is the name of the traditional Jewish marriage certificate, in Hebrew the word Ketubah literally means ‘something written’.
The content of a Ketubah has always, traditionally been a one-way document detailing what the Groom must provide to the Bride in their married lives together, which includes three main things — clothing, food and physical relations.
This ancient document used to deal with concepts such as payments for marriage, which in today’s modern world simply aren’t applicable to most of us. One passage says, “All my property, real and personal, even the shirt from my back, shall be mortgaged to secure the payment of this marriage contract.” We can understand it not as a way to “secure the payment” of the marriage, but as the Groom saying to his Bride, ‘everything I have is also yours, down to the shirt on my back’.
If you’re planning a wedding the Ketubah can be a great thing to personalise to make it more relevant to you. A Ketubah can be decorated in many different ways, with illustrations around the text or colours that represent something about you, indeed there are many artists who custom-make Ketubot, all with a presence on the internet.