Religion & Beliefs

Marriage is Hip. Marriage Contracts? Not So Much

Today, Jewcy got a letter from some readers in the Bay area.  It looked like this:  Jewcy, Help us.  We are 2 modern hipster Jews looking for a Ketubah that does not look like a 70's synagogue stained glass window.  … Read More

By / April 9, 2007

Today, Jewcy got a letter from some readers in the Bay area.  It looked like this:

 Jewcy, Help us.  We are 2 modern hipster Jews looking for a Ketubah that does not look like a 70's synagogue stained glass window.  Where can we find one? -Two Jews in SF

And somehow, this query got forwarded to me, since everyone knows I'm hip as hell  (okay, not really.  But I am a loser who spends lots of time thinking about things like this).

The problem is that this succinct and slightly snarky question is dead-on.  Every Ketubah I've seen DOES look like a 70's synagogue windowOr a Laura Ashley dress

 Oh, if only Yee-haw was into making religious marriage contracts.

But no matter how I hunt the web, I can't find much of interest.  I can't find anything really special. Lots of floral swirls and stained glass, shooting stars and vines twining.

Which leads me to wonder:

1.. If some young Jewish entrepreneur/artist doesn't have a big (and growing) market staring them in the face? (if so, please backchannel me. I want to invest!)

2. If Jewcy readers hipper than me might not offer some advice on the matter?

3. What it would take to commission a hip piece of art, and get it converted into a Ketubah?

For question three, we really need to know what makes a Ketubah kosher, right?  But the thing is, I don't think the rules of a Ketubah apply to the parchment, so much as the contract itself. 

Leaving me to wonder if you HAVE to have it written in Aramaic (or Hebrew)  by a scribe… or if a cool old typewriter and plain English would do the trick. In which case, anyone could make their own. (obviously, this all depends on what flavor of Jew you are… I think an orthodox Ketubah has different standards from Conservative.  And if you're gay or intermarrying, you won't get a kosher Ketubah in any case…)

But the thing is, I think it's NOT about the piece of paper (or dead animal).  I think it's about the language and the signing.

The language included has to follow certain rules. And the signing has to be officiated by a rabbi. But as far as I know, one could make their own Ketubah, out of a cool old magazine cover or funky lithograph…

Now correct me, please?  Tell me I'm wrong… that the parchment must be aged a certain amount, or that only a Jewish scribe can do the text, and only when wearing clean socks and a matzoh ball down his pants… 

I'm well aware I'm on shaky ground here. But I want to know!

What makes a Ketubah kosher, and what would keep a person from making their own?