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 Home > Jewish Wedding Guide > Reform > Ketubah Design

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The Ketubah Design and Designation
A Reform Perspective by Rivka C. Berman

 • Ketubah Design
 • Pre-Printed Handwritten Ketubot
 • Signing the Ketubah

Ketubah Design
A dizzying array of ketubah design choices are available. Ketubah artists abound who can illuminate a marriage certificate to suit individual tastes. Personalized ketubot can be built around Jewish symbols, shared goals, personal loves. One rock climbing couple had an artist write the ketubah surrounded by a ring of mountains. Another ecologically minded couple used a tree’s silhouette to shape their ketubah text. A UPS executive tucked a tiny sketch of the familiar brown delivery truck into a corner of his ketubah. Still another artist learned Hebrew calligraphy and wrote out the text in white ink over a poster-sized photograph of a dew-drenched rose.

Pre-Printed or Handwritten Ketubot
Using a pre-printed ketubah, that has already been proofread and certified as free of any errors, is a longstanding preferred custom in some communities. Dating back to the 16th century, printed ketubot have been the preference of some Jewish communities in Holland and Germany.
Ketubot that are handwritten on paper are preferred by some communities in Israel, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Amsterdam, Holland; and London, England.

Some communities in Italy and southern Europe preferred ketubot to be handwritten on parchment.

Who would do the calligraphy was also a matter of custom. Some Sephardim in Amsterdam had theirs written by a scribe. While other London-based Jews selected their synagogue’s cantor for the honors. In Israel, ketubah-writing was often a privilege and an art handed down from father to son.

Signing the Ketubah
Just before the marriage ceremony begins, the ketubah is traditionally signed by two witnesses. Whoever signs the ketubah should be at the ceremony to witness the actual ketubah reading. Number of witnesses is not limited, and if you wish to honor others with signing your Ketubah, just add lines as indication of where witness are to sign.



 

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• Wedding Day Customs
• The Ketubah: The Jewish Marriage Contract
• The Reform Ketubah Text and Translation

• Ketubah Designs and Designation
• The Bedeking Ceremony: Veiling of the Bride
• The Chuppah - the Wedding Canopy
• Chuppah: Make Your Own Chuppah
• The Processional and the Chuppah Ceremony
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part I: The "Erusin" - the Engagement

• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part II: The Ring and Its Significance
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part III: The Ketubah Reading
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part IV: Nesuin, the Marriage Ceremony
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part V: Breaking the Glass

• Yichud: Bride and Groom Retreat from Crowd for Alone-Time
• Jewish Wedding Reception Customs and Traditions

• Shana Rishona: The First Year of Marriage
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