Andra and Alex's Ethiopian Israeli California Ketubah

When Andra and Alex reached out to me about a custom ketubah for their upcoming wedding, I knew right away that their story was unlike any other. 

Andra and Alex's Ethiopian Wedding

Andra and Alex are both humanitarian workers who spend their life living and working in dangerous war zones. They told me that due to the nature of their service they rarely stay in one place for more than a year or two, so they envisioned their ketubah as a piece of art that they can take with them as they recreate their home around the world -- this is something I can certainly relate to having moved around my whole life. 

Andra has worked in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Iraq, and Mozambique. Alex has lived and worked in South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. At the time of their wedding the couple is living in Fiji, but the roots of their relationship are in Ethiopia, where Alex is from. Alex found out recently that his mother was born in the Falasha (Ethiopian Jewish) community.

Andra is a Jewish girl from California who made Aliyah to Israel. It was there that she became interested in the incredibly important humanitarian work that would take her around the world and introduce her to her beloved. When Andra was stationed in Ethiopia, Alex, who was a fellow humanitarian worker, got her attention by inviting her for coffee every day for a year. I learned from Andra and Alex that Ethiopians not only love their coffee, but have a whole ceremony dedicated to it which is an important ritual -- an element we incorporated into their ketubah design. 

Andra and Alex Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Here is the list of ketubah ideas we brainstormed during our first call: 

  • Blending of cultures/lives
  • Shared history from Jewish lineage
  • Double Rings
  • Abstract/Symbolic
  • Connects who each is as a person with what they’re becoming
  • Ethiopian art
  • Nomadic lifestyle/moving a lot
  • Mountains of California
  • Nature
  • Israeli roots
  • Humanitarian mindset
  • Stripping away power and looking at people/human side
  • Dove/olive branch
  • Jewish identity
  • Alex's love of history
  • Colors of Ethiopian dress yellow/green/red
  • Coffee — daily ceremony around coffee with incense
  • Alex's lineage is a mix of two tribes

I presented them with a few sketches:

Andra and Alex Sketch A

Andra and Alex Sketch B

Andra and Alex loved the idea behind the first sketch, but asked me to swap out some of the elements I had chosen to represent their different cultures with different ones that felt more meaningful to them. 

Andra and Alex Final Ketubah Sketch

Andra and Alex loved the third sketch. Next we worked on their ketubah text -- in addition to using a Humanist ketubah text, Andra and Alex also incorporated their vows into their ketubah. Their ketubah was in three languages: English, Hebrew, and Amharic! 

I got to work:

The couple loved their ketubah and I couldn't have been more excited to see photos of their beautiful Ethiopian wedding! Andra and Alex signed their ketubah during their Ethiopian coffee ceremony. What could be more appropriate? 

Andra and Alex Ketubah Signing

Andra signing her ketubah

Alex signing his ketubah

I have been incredibly fortunate in my work to have the pleasure of getting to know many Jewish and interfaith couples at the very beginning of their marriage journey. It is an honor for my art to be a part of the start of their relationships, whether it be a ketubah, a tallit, or a chuppah cover.

Andra and Alex's wedding

Andra and Alex are one such couple that I know I will never forget. I was so awed and touched hearing about the work they do. It's truly incredible to know there are people like them who put themselves in harms way over and over in order to help alleviate the suffering of others. I happened to be in the middle of their project during the attack against Israel on October 7, a day that affected me very deeply. Andra's insightful perspective following that dark day was meaningful and helpful to me. 

Andra and Alex's Chuppah

Thank you, Andra and Alex, for your kindness and dedication, and for choosing me as your artist for your ketubah! May your ketubah stay with you for a long, happy marriage, and may wherever you take it feel like home. Mazel Tov! 

Alex and Andra's Custom Ketubah


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