Friday, February 10, 2017

The Modern Ketubah

Marriage Contract

Cosmic Ketubah: When Jews get married in a Jewish ceremony, a ketubah (כְּתוּבָּה; “written thing”), a document under Jewish civil law that spells out the obligations of the husband to the wife, is read out under the chuppah (חוּפָּה‎‎; bridal canopy) as part of the marriage ceremony. It is a document that is signed by two witnesses. Such explains an ancient biblical tradition that has long been a part of Judaism. The traditional ketubah is written not in Hebrew but in Aramaic, “the technical legal language of Talmudic law” one prominent Jewish site says. Modern ketubahs or ketubot, (the plural form in Hebrew) reflect modern sensibilities, incorporating not only modern language but also modern images, as this planetary-looking ketubah shows. Jacob Kamaras writes (“Elaborate ketubah designs mean Jewish marriage contract not merely transactional;” February 9, 2017) for “Yet increasingly, today’s ketubah designs are anything but dry and transactional. Going beyond placing a plain document in a basic picture frame, or using common designs such as a view of Jerusalem or the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, ketubah artists and consumers alike are developing more elaborate and personalized tastes.” Yet, as much as this is so, the essential meaning remains the same.

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