Ketubah Help & Information

Ketubah Essentials

what is a ketubah?

The modern version of the ketubah document has its roots in the Babylonian exile when the elders felt it was necessary to guarantee women legal rights of property and provision in the event that the husband was no longer present for reasons including divorce, desertion or death. The elders had foresight when they enumerated in the ketubah the groom's obligations to the bride, ensuring that Jewish families would remain intact despite the financial consequences of divorce. With slight revisions that have occurred throughout the centuries, this ketubah contract remains in use today and is referred to as the Traditional Aramaic. The Orthodox community uses this text exclusively and many other rabbis and couples choose it since this text has stood the test of time and is universally accepted. It is also the only Jewish marriage contract text that is recognized as legal in the state of Israel.

In modern times, the divorce rate has unfortunately risen so high that the Conservative movement felt compelled to add another paragraph to the Traditional Aramaic text, referred to as the Lieberman Clause. This states that, in the event of a divorce, the couple agrees to go before the Rabbinic Assembly and abide by their decision regarding the Jewish divorce. If either partner does not comply, they can be taken to a civil court for enforcement of the decree. In essence, the intention was to give the wife a civil remedy if the husband refused to give her a 'get' which is a Jewish divorce, an action that would prevent her from entering into another Jewish marriage in the future.

The Reform, Reconstructionist, Humanist and unaffiliated members of the Jewish community often prefer to choose wording for their marriage vows that they relate to personally. Many beautiful and poetic ketubah texts have been written to express what the couple's hopes and expectations are as partners in marriage. Interfaith and Anniversary ketubot are also readily available as well as alternative texts for same gender unions

The history of illuminated ketubot from the many cities and cultures that Jews have abided in spans the centuries. Though this art form waned when the Jews were persecuted so viciously in Europe, there has been an amazing revival over the last decades. Now, many Judaica artists are inspired to create designs to enhance the ketubah text. Ketubah artwork ranges from very traditional borders to abstract paintings with the ketubah text superimposed over the art. It's great that couples like you today can choose a beautiful ketubah that suits both partners,' tastes and the wedding budget. Your ketubah may be the first work of art that you, as a couple, will select. Though not necessarily a simple task, when you have searched and finally chosen the marriage document that reflects a meeting of the minds, you can be happy and confident in your ability as a couple to accomplish your future goals. So, open your minds to each other's observations and enjoy the journey that will bring you even closer at the end.

what is a giclee print?

A very popular method of fine art reproduction used by many artists is called giclee (pronounced jee-clay'), a French word which means sprayed ink. It is a finely honed technology in which more than four million droplets of ink per second are sprayed onto paper or canvas capturing the finest nuances of the original painting. Because of the many layers of ink applied to the surface, giclee reproductions appear to be 'painted.' Archival, ultra-chrome inks and acid-free papers rated to last for 120 years are used.

The benefit to the artist is that they no longer have to print an entire edition at once. With the giclee method each piece is printed individually. The text is usually written in digital calligraphy, as is the personalization if you opt for that, with beautiful results. The lettering styles are selected to complement the artwork.

Most of the artists who use the giclee method will provide a proof of the text prior to printing your ketubah so you will have an opportunity to check it for accuracy before it is completed.

what is a lithograph print?

Many of our artists choose this time-tested method of fine art reproduction for their artwork. Almost all are limited editions. A predetermined number of each design and text are printed and when they are sold out they are no longer available. Lithographs are printed on acid-free art paper of the artists� choice. The text is written in hand-calligraphy and then reproduced as a lithograph so the print has the charm of a hand-written document. If you opt to have your ketubah personalized, the artist will be matching their own calligraphy as they fill in your personal information by hand.

We will provide you with a proof of the personalizing information page, exactly as the artist will receive it, so you and your officiant can review it beforehand. With a lithograph, a full text proof is generally not available. In the rare event of an artist�s error in personalizing, the artist will correct/redo the ketubah in time for the wedding.

are the colors on my computer monitor accurate?

The ketubah images on our website are reproductions of the artwork. While colors can vary depending on the settings of your particular monitor, we are very careful to use scans that are high quality and accurate. There may be differences from what you see on your screen to the actual ketubah, though our customers consistently report that the ketubah that they received is even more beautiful than what they saw online.

who signs the ketubah?

For Hebrew / English ketubot, it is most common that there are five signature lines for the groom, the bride, two witnesses, and a rabbi or officiant to sign. The Orthodox and Conservative texts generally have two witness signature lines under the Aramaic text. If you would like know what signature lines are on the ketubah that you have chosen, just ask us and we will confirm it for you.

what kind of pen should we use?

The Jewish marriage contract should be signed with a non-smearing pen. Do not use a felt tip or fountain pen. An old-fashioned ballpoint is permanent and works very well on almost any paper. You can also get a micron uniball pen from the art store that is pigment ink, fade-proof and waterproof. These are not expensive and are readily available.

can signature lines be added?

If you would like different signature lines than what is offered as standard, many times they can be customized so it's definitely worth it to ask us. This is most easily accomplished on giclee prints but is also possible on some lithographs.

we want to do our own artwork

So, you, your friend, mother, aunt, cousin is an artist. Lucky for you! We offer a Text Only option that is perfect for this scenario. Do a search under 'Styles' and choose 'Text Only' then click 'Search'. If you have any questions just call us and we'll give you all the details.

framing the ketubah for hanging

Choosing a frame for your ketubah has a lot to do with personal taste. Maybe you like a modern look where someone else would choose an elaborate, traditional frame. We recommend that you take the ketubah to the store and 'try on' some different mat colors and frame styles and see what you like best. Framing is an art in itself so ask the experts how best to enhance your artwork.

You should use glass or plexiglass with UV protection when framing your ketubah.

caring for the ketubah

Your ketubah requires the same care and any fine artwork in your home. Here are some guidelines:

  1. Do not hang your ketubah in direct sunlight.
  2. Incandescent lighting is the optimal lighting for your artwork.
  3. Be sure your hands are clean and dry when handling your ketubah. Handle only at the edges especially before filling in or signing. Oil from your hands can cause the ink to bleed on the paper or absorb improperly.
  4. Use glass or plexiglass with UV protection when framing your ketubah
  5. Avoid excess humidity to avoid damage from mildew.
  6. Most importantly, enjoy your beautiful ketubah as it hangs in your home. Let it always remind you of the joy of your wedding day and of the commitment you made to each other.

Ketubah Text Choices

how do we choose a text?

First and foremost, when you are deciding on a ketubah text, you should ask your officiating clergy what his or her requirements are. If you inquire about this at the outset, you will know that on your wedding day there will be no surprises regarding your ketubah.

Usually, your text choice is related to your style of observance of Jewish tradition. You should discuss this fully with your clergy so you feel comfortable with the text that will be used on your ketubah. To help clarify the many text options, we have included a description of the different texts.

descriptions of text options

Orthodox (aka Traditional Aramaic)
This text originated during the Babylonian exile and delineates the husband's obligations toward his wife. It was designed to protect the woman's status and property in marriage and in the event of divorce or the husband's death or desertion. This text carries legal clout in contemporary courts of law as a contractual agreement. If you will be using this text, select the ketubah design first and then have your rabbi approve that artist's Aramaic text. There are some variations in spellings and you will want to be sure it fulfills your rabbi's requirements.

The English text that accompanies an Orthodox text is not a direct translation. The English vows will vary from artist to artist so read each one to be sure that you like the wording and that your rabbi approves.

Conservative with Lieberman Clause
This text is the same as the Orthodox text with the addition of a paragraph called the Lieberman Clause. This is a legally binding agreement stating that, in the event of a civil divorce, the couple agrees to abide by the decision of the Rabbinic Assembly concerning the Jewish divorce (Gett) and most Conservative clergy require that this clause be in the ketubah. The purpose is to prevent the Gett from becoming a bargaining tool against the spouse, which would prevent the woman, in particular, from remarrying.

The English text that may accompany this text is not a direct translation. The English vows will vary from artist to artist so read each one to be sure you like the wording.

Reform - (aka Egalitarian)
These vows vary from artist to artist so you should read the text that accompanies each ketubah that you are considering. They are often beautifully written expressions of love, devotion and commitment. The Hebrew is usually a direct translation of the English. Be sure your officiant approves your text choice!

Interfaith
Interfaith texts are widely available and wording varies from artist to artist. In some instances there is a complete Hebrew translation of the text. In most cases, there is a Hebrew heading containing the Hebrew date, the place of the marriage and your names, followed by the vows in English. Though most officiants will allow you free reign to choose what you like, some have specific wording that they will approve. So please check first before ordering!

Commitment Vows
Commitment vows are written to be suitable for same gender unions and are generally universally appropriate for any marriage ceremony. The wording varies from artist to artist so be sure to read each one that accompanies the artwork that you are interested in.

Anniversary
Already-married couples can add meaning to their anniversary celebration with a beautiful ketubah commemorating their years together. Many of our artists offer thoughtful texts which reflect on this event. This is a GREAT gift to present to each other or to anyone you know that is having an anniversary.

Secular Humanistic
The Association of Humanistic Rabbis and Leadership Conference of Secular and Humanistic Jews offers two texts and they are available in the artwork of several artists. One is all English and the other has a Hebrew translation. Other artists may offer a secular style text that is labeled as Humanist and is not associated with the above mentioned organization.

Sephardic
Rabbis of Sephardic communities, originally from Spain and the Mediterranean, often require a special ketubah text. Each community has their own preferred wording so you should show the rabbi the texts that some artists offer as standard to see if one is acceptable. Otherwise, a custom text can be ordered on most ketubot.

Write Your Own / Custom Text
If you fell in love with a ketubah design but prefer to use wording that is not offered by the artist, most ketubot can accommodate a custom text.

For lithograph prints, this involves hand-calligraphy. The price of a hand-written custom text depends on the particular artist and the number of words in your text. This option can add a few hundred dollars to the cost of your ketubah.

For giclee prints, a custom text can usually be accomplished with computer calligraphic lettering. They look terrific and adding your own text is generally significantly less expensive than hand-calligraphy.

literal translation traditional aramaic

"On the ______day of the week, the _________day of the month ______ in the year five thousand seven hundred and ______ since the creation of the world, the era according to which we reckon here in the city of _________________ that ________ son of _________ said to this (virgin) _________daughter of _____.

"Be my wife according to the practice of Moses and Israel, and I will cherish, honor, support and maintain you in accordance with the custom of Jewish husbands who cherish, honor, support and maintain their wives faithfully. And I here present you with the marriage gift of (virgins), (two hundred) silver zuzim, which belongs to you, according the the law of Moses and Israel; and I will also give you your food, clothing and necessities, and live with you as husband and wife according to universal custom." And Miss_____, this (virgin) consented and became his wife. The trousseau that she brought to him from her (father's) house in silver, gold, valuables, clothing, furniture and bedclothes, all this ________, the said bridegroom accepted in the sum of (one hundred ) silver pieces, and ______ the bridegroom, consented to increase this amount from his own property with the sum of (one hundred) silver pieces, making in all (two hundred) silver pieces. And thus said __________, the bridegroom: "The responsibility of this marriage contract, of this trousseau, and of this additional sum, I take upon myself and my heirs after me, so that they shall be paid from the best part of my property and possession that I have beneath the whole heaven, that which I now possess or may hereafter acquire. All my property, real and personal, even the shirt from my back, shall be mortgaged to secure the payment of this marriage contract, of the trousseau, and of the addition made to it, during my lifetime and after my death, from the present day and forever." _______, the bridegroom, has taken upon himself the responsibility of this marriage contract, of the trousseau and the addition made to it, according to the restrictive usages of all marriage contracts and the additions to them made for the daughters of Israel, according to the institution of our sages of blessed memory. It is not to be regarded as a mere forfeiture without consideration or as a mere formula of a document. We have followed the legal formality of symbolic delivery (kinyan) between ______the son of _______, the bridegroom and _______ the daughter of _______ this (virgin), and we have used a garment legally fit for the purpose, to strengthen all that is stated above, and everything is valid and confirmed.

Attested to________________________ Witness

Attested to________________________ Witness

literal translation conservative lieberman clause

This paragraph, the Lieberman Clause, is added near the end of the Traditional Aramaic text and is referred to as the Conservative with Lieberman Clause Text.

And both together agreed that if this marriage shall ever be dissolved under civil law, then either husband or wife may invoke the authority of the Beth Din of the Rabbinical Assembly and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America or its duly authorized representatives, to decide what action by either spouse is then appropriate under Jewish matrimonial law; and if either spouse shall fail to honor the demand of the other or to carry out the decision of the Beth Din or its representative, then the other spouse may invoke any and all remedies available in civil law and equity to enforce compliance with the Beth Din's decision and this solemn obligation.

we like this ketubah and that text

If you fell in love with a ketubah design but prefer to use wording that is not offered by the artist, most ketubot can accommodate a custom text.

For lithograph prints this involves hand-calligraphy. The price of a hand-written custom text depends on the particular artist and the number of words in your text. This option can add a few hundred dollars to the cost of your ketubah.

For giclee prints, a custom text can usually be accomplished with computer calligraphic lettering. They look terrific and adding your own text is generally significantly less expensive than hand-calligraphy.

about custom texts

When you decide that you would like different wording on a ketubah than is offered by the artist, that is called a Custom Text. It may be vows that you have written together or it may be a text that you saw on a different ketubah by another artist. It is almost always possible to add a custom text to any of the ketubah designs. If it is another artist's text, however, we do need their permission to use their text on your ketubah. Most artists do grant permission since it is for your individual use only, though some have a charge for using their text.

Custom texts for lithograph prints have to be hand-written and the price depends on the artist. The number of words is taken into consideration when calculating the price.

For most giclee prints, the custom text is done in the same digital calligraphy that the artist chose for that ketubah and it is generally less expensive than hand calligraphy.

If you wrote your text in English and you need it translated, we do have wonderful, Israeli translators that we work with.

we wrote our english text and need a hebrew translation

We do offer the service of translating your ketubah text.

Our translators are native born Israelis who translate with a poetic flare.

texts in other languages

Many of our artists can add custom texts in languages beside English and Hebrew. Call us and we will explore the options with you.

Searching for a Ketubah

we want to see everything

Many couples like to see all of the artwork options before selecting their ketubah. Easy! Just click on 'Shop Our Ketubahs' near the top of the page and all of the artwork will be displayed. You can choose how many images you would like to view on a page including 'All.'

Then, as you scroll down, click on any of the images to get more information about that ketubah.

we prefer to narrow our search

If you know for sure that you don't like flowers or that you do want an image of Jerusalem, you can narrow your search using our multi-option search. You can choose from as many search categories as you like and then click 'Search.' The images that are displayed will fit your criteria.

It is a great idea to do a search of the text that you are using so you can be sure that the ketubah that you fall in love with is available in your text.

can we keep track of our favorites?

You will definitely want to create a Favorites List so you can easily return to any ketubah that you might like to take another look at. When you come across a ketubah that you find interesting, just add it to your Favorites page for future consideration. It's much easier that writing a list or printing out each design.

To create a Favorites list, there is a link at the top right of the home page. Follow the simple directions. Then, You can return to it at any time and add to or delete from it, show it to family and friends, and narrow the choices down until you make your final selection.

making the final choice

Sometimes the final choice is the first ketubah you were interested in. Sometimes you really like several designs and you are wondering how to decide. Our best advise is to close your eyes and picture the ketubah on the wall of your home. Usually an image appears that will provide your answer.

Now all you have to do is add the ketubah to the Shopping Cart and place your order.

Ordering Your Ketubah

how do we place our order?

ONLINE

We have a convenient, easy and SECURE online order form. Begin on the page of the ketubah design that you like, choose your text, personalizing and shipping options, then add it to the cart and follow the directions to complete your order.

EMAIL

If you would rather fill out the forms by hand and email it to us, you can download and print out the Ketubah Order/Personalizing Form from this link:
Combined Order/Personalizing Form
After you have filled it out, email it to us at:
[email protected] We will email you an order confirmation so you know we received it.

PHONE

You can call us toll-free at 1-888-920-3636 and place your order via telephone. You will always be greeted by a friendly person who is happy to take your order, answer your questions, address your concerns and even offer advice on making a selection based on your taste and needs.

FAX

If you would rather fill out the forms by hand and fax it to us, you can download and print out the Ketubah Order/Personalizing Form

After you have filled it out you can fax it to us 24/7 at 1-954-489-3908.

how do we pay for our ketubah?

At the end of the SECURE online Order Form you can enter your credit card information. For your convenience we accept VISA, MasterCard and American Express.

will we receive an order confirmation?

Whatever method of ordering you choose, you will always receive an Order Confirmation via email that you can print for your records and review to be sure your order information is accurate.

Shipping Rates & Delivery Time

what are our shipping options?

DOMESTIC
Within the continental United States:

  • Standard Shipping - $18.00 (or as indicated)
  • Second Day Air - $45.00 (or as indicated)

FREE STANDARD SHIPPING TO FLORIDA up to $15
(enter discount code - FLfree - at checkout)

*Some ketubot require specific shipping priorities or special packaging resulting in different shipping charges. This will be indicated in the shipping options on the page with the ketubah design.

INTERNATIONAL RATES

These are determined by the Postal Code of the destination and the time frame required for delivery. We will let you know the exact charges after receiving your order.
(We cannot anticipate any axes, duties or fees that may be assessed by customs of the destination country. All axes, duties or fees are the responsibility of the recipient.)

PERSONALIZED KETUBOT:
3-6 weeks after approval of personalizing information page. (It is usually much quicker than this!) If you are in a rush let us know and we will expedite your order.

NOT PERSONALIZED KETUBOT:
Lithograph Print - Ships out within the week.
Giclee Print - Each one is printed per order but still generally ships within the week.

RUSH:
If you have waited to the eleventh hour to order your ketubah, (don't feel bad - you have plenty of company) we will go to great lengths to be sure it arrives on time.

when will we receive our ketubah?

Lithograph Print / Not Personalized - This gets shipped right out. It should arrive within seven to ten days of ordering. If you would like it to arrive sooner, you can indicate that in the Comments box on your order and choose the appropriate shipping priority.

Giclee Print - Since giclee ketubot are printed per order it could take just a little longer than a lithograph to be shipped, even if it is not personalized. You should let us know if it is a rush situation. We and the artists all want you to be able to have the ketubah that you have chosen in time for your wedding and we will make it happen.

If your ketubah is being personalized, it usually takes 3-6 weeks from the time we receive your approved Personalization Form.

Rush - If you have waited to the eleventh hour to order your ketubah (don't feel bad, you have plenty of company) we will go to great lengths to be sure it arrives on time. Call us so we can work out the details together.

what if the ketubah arrives damaged?

First of all, don't worry. If your ketubah arrives damaged, we will replace it at no cost to you. Please notify us immediately and save the damaged original packaging and artwork so we can make the appropriate insurance claims with the shipper.

Check the package as soon as it arrives because there is a time limit from the date of delivery for us to make a damage claim.

Company Policies

protecting your privacy

Please rest assured that the information that you provide to us will be used to process your order only. Our company never has and never will share your information with any other individuals or companies.

We will not send you solicitations or emails not related to the order that you placed with us. We, too, do not like to receive unsolicited emails so we would never subject our customers to that annoyance.

return policy

We will refund or exchange any undamaged, non-custom or non-personalized Ketubah from our Studio Collection within 14 days of receipt. Because of our commitment to quality, a ketubah that is rolled, unrolled and then rolled and unrolled again is not usually suitable to send out to another couple so please choose carefully with the intention of keeping the ketubah.

Call for a return authorization. For your own protection, return items using a trackable shipping method and insure for the full value of artwork. Shipping will not be refunded for a return but in some instances may be applied to an exchange. The ketubah must be returned in the original packaging.

Ketubot that are not part of our Studio Collection are not returnable or refundable.

Sales are final and refunds, exchanges and cancellations are not available if work has already begun.

Damages:

In any instance that the ketubah arrives damaged, we will replace it at no cost to you. Please notify us within 24 hours and save the damaged original packaging and artwork so we can make the appropriate insurance claims with the shipper.

disclaimer

Judaic Connection makes every effort to provide current and accurate information on our websites regarding descriptions, pricing and availability of products. However, on occasion, an error can occur. Judaic Connection will not be required to sell a product based on incorrect information on our websites. You will be notified of the error as soon as it comes to light and you, or we, will have the option of canceling the order. Should your order be cancelled before work has begun, you will receive a full refund if your credit card has already been charged.

Judaic Connection reserves the right to change its prices for products and services sold on our websites, effective immediately upon posting the changes on the site. If you have already placed an order, the price that appeared at the time of your order will be honored.

Judaic Connection is not responsible for, and cannot guarantee, the timely delivery of a product once it is in the possession of a shipping vendor. On occasion, shippers misroute packages and they are not delivered in the time specified for a particular shipping priority. This is beyond our control. Incorrect or incomplete addresses also cause delays and incur extra charges. These charges are your responsibility.

Packages are insured for damage and loss. Please keep original packaging if your item arrives damaged so the shipper can process the claim.

Judaic Connection is not responsible for damage done to a product once it has been delivered including, but not limited to, paper damage due to environmental conditions, damage by calligraphers or other individuals who fill in the ketubah or framers.

Judaic Connection is not responsible for any damages incurred due to products not being delivered on time, due to shippers' errors or your failure to follow up on your order. Judaic Connection diligently completes and ships orders in a timely manner but, on occasion, an order placed via the shopping cart, fax or mail does not reach us. If you have not heard from us it is your responsibility to check on your order.

Judaic Connection is not liable for damages to your computer system or loss of data should any virus be transmitted while using our site or receiving emails from us.

On custom, original or personalized ketubot:

All sales are final and refunds, exchanges and cancellations are not available if work has already begun.

Damages:

In any instance that the ketubah arrives damaged, we will replace it at no cost to you. Please save the damaged original packaging and artwork so we can make the appropriate insurance claims with the shipper.

terms of use

Copyright 1998 - 2020 JudaicConnection, All rights reserved. No part of this website, including images, text content, any artwork represented herein, format or layout may be reproduced in any manner without the prior and express written permission of JudaicConnection.

about us

Hello and welcome. We are Cindy and Raymond and we would like to tell you about how this website came to be.

As a young artist, Cindy made her first ketubah for her sister. The unique, 3-D decoupage design was a hit, leading to commissions of many more ketubot through word-of-mouth over the years. When Raymond came into the picture in the early '90s they thought how nice it would be to be to make Cindy's artwork, and that of the many other talented Judaica artists that they had come to know over the years, more visible and accessible. The vision was twofold:

The first was a commitment to perpetuating the beautiful traditions and rituals of Judaism through the work of these gifted artists. It is with great deference and pride that we showcase their work and we maintain a wonderful relationship with each and every one. They appreciate the exposure that our website provides for their artwork, allowing them to spend their time on the creative end. They know that our wholehearted commitment to representing their work in a positive light, together with our very warm and personal service is a winning combination that benefits all.

When we enhance the performance of a mitzvah by using a beautiful ritual object for the purpose, it is known as Hiddur Mitzvah. The resurgence of interest in Judaica over the last decades is very exciting as it reflects the desire of Jews from every style of observance to bring their heritage into their homes. This trend has brought about the most fantastic explosion of creativity by Judaica artists. With new technologies and materials, everyone can afford Judaica from the charming to the elegant. This connection to our roots is evidence of the tenacity of the Jewish people and the survival of our culture and tradition through periods of turbulence and respite. These objet d'art will be a legacy to future generations and will perpetuate our essence.

Our hope is that through the works of art that we showcase, your connection to your Jewish heritage will be reinforced and perpetuated by having them in your home and incorporating them into your life.

Personalizing

what is personalizing?

You have the option to have the artist complete the blank spaces within the ketubah text including your names, the date and the location of your wedding in both Hebrew and English.

If the print is a lithograph, this is done by hand in matching or complementary calligraphy. In most cases the artists fill in their own ketubot. If the artist is unavailable, the ketubah will be filled in by a calligrapher experienced in matching that artist's lettering style.

On giclee prints, the personalizing is incorporated seamlessly into the digital text. We do have a few artists that use the giclee method to print the ketubah and then personalize it by hand since the text was reproduced from their own calligraphy.

Generally, there is an additional charge for personalizing a ketubah but some artists include it in their price. If you plan to have your rabbi or cantor do the fill-in be sure to ask them first if they are willing. Some prefer not to risk writing on the artwork. On the other hand, some clergy insist that the ketubah be filled in by hand at the wedding. It's always best to check.

PLEASE NOTE: Our artists offer the service of personalizing your ketubah. There are many different papers that ketubot are printed on and each artist is experienced at choosing the proper ink and pen type for their artwork. If you're having a rabbi fill in the blank spaces as a contract, we recommend using a medium ballpoint pen. If you are having your own calligrapher fill it in, please note that you and/or your own calligrapher must take full responsibility if any damage is done to the artwork.

to personalize or not personalize?

Many couples prefer to have the artist fill in the blank spaces on the ketubah in matching calligraphy for both aesthetic reasons and for peace of mind in knowing that the final artwork will be error-free.

Some couples find the look of the ketubah as a contract with the rabbi filling in the blanks in his/her own handwriting very charming. Just be sure that the your clergy is willing to take on the task since there is some inherent risk of error or damage when writing on the artwork.

Sometimes budget issues help you make your decision.

We get orders both with and without personalizing so there is no one right answer, only what is right for you

where do we find the personalizing form?

You can access the Personalizing Form from a tab at the top of every page of the website.

Also, if you have placed your order online through the shopping cart, after you submit your order a link will appear for the Personalizing Form.

Your order and Personalizing Form are submitted separately so if you would like to place your order but still need to gather information to complete the Personalizing Form, no problem. We will send you occasional reminders that we are still waiting for your information. We watch the calendar and will nudge you if necessary.

guide to filling out the personalizing form

We can't stress enough the importance of filling out this form accurately and LEGIBLY. Double check spellings and dates. But don't be intimidated. We are here to help. We know that sometimes you will need to search for names and we can make suggestions on where to look. We are happy to call your rabbi to ask more questions. This document is a record of your family's Jewish names that may be referred to by future generations.

We will always confirm the final information with you before the artist completes your ketubah.

Date:
We can calculate the Hebrew date for you. Since the Hebrew date changes to the next day at sundown of the previous evening (e.g. Saturday night after sundown is considered to be the first day of the week) we need to know if the ceremony is before or after sundown. If your wedding is at dusk please ask your rabbi how it should be calculated. If your wedding is Saturday evening, though not technically after sundown, it is particularly important that you ask your rabbi or cantor if the date should reflect the seventh day of the week (shabbat) or the first day of the week.

Place:
The texts require the city and the state of the wedding. If no Hebrew spelling is provided we will transliterate from the English. Transliterating is very subjective so if you think your rabbi will have a spelling preference please find out what it is. (We do not need the name of the synagogue or hall.)

Names:
Since the ketubah is a document, it is most common to have your first, middle and last names in the English section. A bride should supply her maiden name or the name that she enters the marriage with. Write the names exactly as you wish them to appear. It is okay to use just a middle initial or no middle name at all if that is your preference. Do not include titles such as Dr., Hon., etc. Most artists do not use the parents names in the English section but a few do so we ask you to provide their names as well.

In Jewish tradition you are identified as being _______ the son or daughter of _______ and _______. Therefore, we ask that you provide your Hebrew name(s) and those of your parents. If it is a challenge to find out the names you can start by asking your parents. From there you can find out if they have their ketubah which will have their Hebrew names on it. They may even have a circumcision or naming certificate with your name on it. You can fax any of these over to us and we can usually solve at least part of the mystery. Then try asking grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings. We feel it is important to document the Hebrew names as accurately as possible so that if, in the future, anyone is looking for these names they will be able to refer to your Jewish marriage contract.

Hebrew names can be written in English letters if you are using the on-line form or if you do not know how to write them out in Hebrew. We will write them in Hebrew and confirm the spellings with you and your rabbi/cantor. You may have a name that is uncommon or can have various spellings, especially Yiddish names, so we always check first. If you prefer to provide us with the Hebrew you can spell out the letters on the on-line form (alef, bet, gimmel, etc.) or simply use our printable form and then fax it over.

For a partner or parents that do not have Hebrew names, we transliterate their English names into Hebrew letters. On occasion, couples decide to choose Hebrew names that are related in meaning the the English name. It is a good idea to confer with your rabbi or cantor before you decide to do this.

Sometimes the last names are used in the Hebrew text, though not always, so if you have a particular spelling of your last name in Hebrew please provide it.

Many Orthodox rabbis only use the fathers' names on the ketubah, so if you are having an Orthodox ceremony and you would like to include your mothers' names on the ketubah, you must check with the rabbi to be sure it is okay. To avoid confusion, do not provide your mother's Hebrew names if they are not to be included in the text. In all other texts we do use both parents' names.

Brides' Status:
These questions apply only to Traditional Aramaic (Orthodox) & Conservative with Lieberman Clause texts. Depending on whether this is the first marriage for the bride, or if she is a widow, divorcee or convert and if her father is living or deceased, some phrases of the Aramaic text change.

Signatures:
Most Orthodox and Conservative rabbis will require two Hebrew witness signatures under the Aramaic text. Any English vows should be below these signatures. Some rabbis require that these signatures be stacked one above the other. Most Traditional Aramaic texts that do not have English are set up in this way. However, if you choose the Aramaic with English, sometimes the witness signatures are side by side. Check with your rabbi for his requirements.

The signatures under the English vary but most commonly there are five - Bride, Groom, Two Witnesses and Rabbi or Officiant. All other texts most commonly have all of the five signatures at the bottom of the document with none under the Hebrew.

The Jewish marriage contract should be signed with a non-smearing pen. Do not use a felt tip or fountain pen. An old fashioned ballpoint works very well. You can also get a micron uniball pen from the art store that is pigment ink, fadeproof and waterproof. These are not expensive and are readily available.

what if we or our parents do not have a hebrew name?

For a partner or parents that do not have Hebrew names, we transliterate their English names into Hebrew letters. On occasion, couples decide to choose Hebrew names that are related in meaning the the English name. It is a good idea to confer with your rabbi or cantor before you decide to do this.

will we receive a text proof before the ketubah is completed?

Most of the artists who use the giclee printing method provide a proof of the personalized text prior to printing your ketubah. This gives you the opportunity to check it for accuracy prior to completion. We will email the proof to you and to your rabbi if you provide his/her email address. It is greatly reassuring to know that when your ketubah arrives it has already been approved.

For lithograph prints, the artists work directly on the artwork so a full text proof is usually not available. We will provide you with a proof of the personalizing information page, exactly as the artist will receive it, so you and your officiant can review it beforehand. In the highly unlikely event that your ketubah arrives with an error, the artists will correct/redo the ketubah before your wedding. So, don't worry.

Please open up the package and look at your ketubah as soon as it arrives.