All of the designs in my ketubah collections are available with the kosher Orthodox Aramaic ketubah text.
What makes a ketubah kosher?
Jerusalem Orthodox Ketubah
There are a few requirements for a ketubah to be kosher by Orthodox standards.
- You have to use the traditional Orthodox Ketubah Text. This text is written in Aramaic, not modern day Hebrew, because that was the Talmudic language of the law. This ketubah text has been used in almost the same form since around 440 BCE. That is a long time! When you are choosing the Orthodox Aramaic ketubah text you are binding your wedding to an ancient tradition and tying your union to your Jewish ancestors in a very meaningful way.
- For a ketubah text to be kosher, it has to have a certain clear shape. For example, the text can be formatted into a square, rectangle, circle or even semicircle, but it can’t have any extra spaces. This is because an Orthodox ketubah is a religious binding contract, and your rabbi doesn’t want any spaces where something can potentially be written in later to alter that contract.
- Orthodox Aramaic ketubahs are only signed by two male witnesses. The witnesses cannot be related to the bride or groom (so no brothers or cousins), and many rabbis also require that the witnesses be observant Jews. This is especially the case if you are getting married in Israel by the Israeli Rabbinate.
- Many Orthodox rabbis request that the regel, or “leg” of the Kuf of the word קנינה be left off so they can write it in by hand on the wedding day. Whether or not your rabbi wants this is actually a standard question on my ketubah customization form. If you order your ketubah with the text blank, the קנינה will be blank. That said, even with a text as standard as the Orthodox Aramaic text, there is some variation in rabbi requirements, so I highly recommend having your rabbi approve the blank text before I send you your ketubah. I am always happy to provide a digital proof, even for a blank ketubah, so just let me know you would like one.
Can you add English text to an Orthodox Ketubah?
The answer to this really varies rabbi to rabbi. In my experience, most Orthodox rabbis, even Chabad rabbis, don’t mind English being somewhere on the ketubah document as long as the Orthodox Aramaic text is all on there in the right shape and signed by witnesses. Many Orthodox rabbis also don’t mind if we add signature lines for the bride and groom under the English text, but that is a question for your officiating rabbi.
If your rabbi does approve of adding English to your ketubah, we don’t use a literal translation of the Orthodox text. That is because it is a pretty cut and dry document. Instead, we pair it with a more poetic interpretation. I offer a standard text that for pairing with the Orthodox, but you can also browse all of my ketubah text options and pair your Orthodox text with any text that speaks to you and your beloved.
It is a good idea to think about whether you would like your ketubah in one language or both when choosing your ketubah design. Some of my designs are designed with two languages in mind while others have one space for text that can be in one language or two. For example, the designs where the text is on either side of a tree or of figures are trickier when you are only using the Orthodox Aramaic text without English. That said, if you are in love with one of the symmetrical designs and would only use one language, we can always just put your names and wedding date in a beautiful font on the other side to balance the design.
What information do we need to fill in our kosher ketubah?
If you choose to order your ketubah with the ketubah text filled-in, then you will need to fill out my ketubah customization form. Here is what you will need to know to fill it out:
- The date of your wedding and whether it is before or after sunset. This is so I can determine the Hebrew date of your wedding. If the wedding is after sunset then the Hebrew date is actually the following day’s date because the Hebrew calendar is lunar, so the next day starts after sunset.
- I will need the bride and groom’s Hebrew names (if you don’t have them then I will just write your regular names phonetically) and also the names or Hebrew names of both of your fathers. This is because in the Orthodox ketubah text, your fathers’ names are listed as part of your name. For example, Rachel Rivka daughter of Chaim, or David son of Moshe. I will also need to know if either of your fathers is a Cohen or Levi because this gets added on to the name as well. Please note that if the bride or groom has completed a conversion to Judaism then their father’s name will be listed as “Abraham” in the Orthodox text. Most Orthodox rabbis do not include last names on the ketubah.
- I will need to know the bride’s “status”. The Orthodox Aramaic ketubah is filled out differently depending on the status of the bride. The different options are: first time bride, divorced, widowed, or Jewish by choice.
Once you submit your customization form, I will work on a digital proof of your ketubah for your rabbi to check and approve. I won’t send your ketubah out until the rabbi signs off that it is 100% kosher!
More Fun Facts about the Kosher Aramaic Ketubah
- It is a legal contract in the Jewish world. In fact, the word “ketubah” means “written” in Hebrew. To get a Jewish divorce by Orthodox standards the husband would need to provide the wife with a “gett” in a rabbinical court in order to dissolve the contract. If you prefer a more egalitarian approach, consider the Conservative text with Lieberman Clause. This text is essentially the same as the Orthodox text but adds an extra clause at the very end allowing either partner to dissolve the marriage.
- The ketubah outlines the groom’s responsibilities towards the bride, including taking care of her financially and even sexual fulfillment.
- It also includes a requirement that the groom pay a certain amount in case of a divorce and inheritance. That said, this amount is only symbolic by today’s standards and is listed in “zuzim”.
- The ketubah outlines terms for the bride and the bride must knowingly and willingly accept them. The witnesses sign to testify that the bride and groom are both consentingly entering into this contract.