What is the Conservative Ketubah Text?
Every ketubah in my collection is available with the Conservative ketubah text. This text is identical to the Orthodox Aramaic text, but with the addition of an extra paragraph at the end known as the Lieberman Clause.
What is the Lieberman Clause?
The Lieberman clause was developed by Talmudic scholar and professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary named Saul Lieberman. This clause, which the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Rabbinical Assembly accepted in 1953, is added in as a paragraph at the end of the ketubah text. The purpose of this clause is to solve the challenge of the “agunah”. An agunah is a Jewish woman whose husband refuses to grand her a religious divorce and she is therefore prohibited from re-marrying under Jewish law. The literal meaning of agunah is “chained woman”. By signing the Lieberman Clause, the bride and groom agree to recognize the authority of the court of the more modern court of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly and the Jewish Theological Seminary to allow a divorce at the request of either the husband or the wife. Thereby, the addition of this clause makes for a more egalitarian version of the ancient Orthodox ketubah text.
What does the Lieberman Clause actually say?
Here is a translation of the Lieberman Clause of the Ketubah. Please note that translations can vary slightly:
What does the rest of the Conservative Text say?
Other than the Lieberman Clause, the Conservative Ketubah text is the same as the Orthodox ketubah text. This text, which has been used in Judaism for thousands of years (earliest versions of documents with this text are from about 440 BCE), outlines the groom’s responsibilities towards the bride. It is a legal, binding contract according to Jewish law. While the Orthodox text is only signed by two male witnesses, most Conservative rabbis allow for signature lines for the bride and groom as well. Many officiating Conservative rabbis also like to sign the ketubah themselves.
Another difference between the Orthodox and Conservative ketubah is how it is filled in. Traditionally Hebrew names are written in the ben/bat form. This means that the Hebrew name of the bride and groom are listed along with their parents’ Hebrew names, as in “Rachel daughter of….”. On Orthodox ketubahs only the father’s parentage is listed, but on Conservative ketubahs the mother’s name is usually also added in, once again making this document a more egalitarian version of the traditional Orthodox text. This does vary rabbi to rabbi, which is why we always make a digital proof for your rabbi to check and approve before finalizing your ketubah.
Pairing the Conservative Text with English
Because the Conservative Ketubah Text is a pretty dry legal document, most people choose not to have a literal translation of it on their beautiful art ketubah. Instead, they like to pair it with a more modern, romantic English text. This is the ketubah we like to use for the English of the Conservative Ketubah:
We can add any of our standard English ketubah texts to your Conservative ketubah at no extra charge. Browse all the available texts here.
Filling in the Conservative Ketubah
All the ketubahs in my collection can either be ordered with a blank text or a filled in text. If you order the ketubah blank, it will come with blanks throughout the text that your rabbi would need to fill in by hand. It is important to check with your rabbi before ordering to make sure he or she is willing to do that. Some rabbis do require that ketubah be pre-filled and that’s important to know before your wedding day!
If you have us fill the ketubah text in for you, then first we will send you a form to fill out with all the information we will need. It will ask you things such as names of the bride and groom and their parents, date and location of the wedding, and Hebrew names for anyone who has them. We will fill translate and fill in all your information so the font is all the same, and we will email a digital proof for you and your rabbi to check and approve. We won’t finalize your ketubah until we get the green light from your rabbi that there are no mistakes and the ketubah is 100% kosher.
You can learn more about the ketubah fill-in and see samples of what a blank ketubah vs a filled in ketubah text looks like here.
One more thing to consider
Because the Conservative Ketubah with Lieberman Clause has an extra paragraph at the end, it is one of the longer ketubah texts available. Because of this, I recommend considering the text area of the ketubah art you select. If you order the Conservative ketubah in a budget size, the text will need to be on the smaller side to fit, so filling in the blanks by hand may be tricky. This is why if you are ordering your ketubah with the Conservative ketubah text, I recommend either ordering original size and up, or having us fill the ketubah text in for you.
Also see these related pages: