The ketubah is a required element for a Jewish wedding. And the tradition is for the ketubah to be highly decorated and displayed in the marital home.
Well, I happen to like art. I believe that walls and floors aren’t meant to be naked, and that paint should be only a backdrop for displaying art. So having to buy art? Woo hoo!
I knew that my favourite little Judaica store, Concepts of Art in Lenox, MA, had nice ketovot. Rabbi Fine told me to go to ketubah.com (it’s Toronto based). Jeremy talked about Israel’s in Toronto. And Google found me Jessyjudaica.com (which, I just discovered, is Toronto based!). The websites were very helpful, with not only information about the specific ketuvot (descriptions of the artists point of view, listing of the text options), but also information about the different text, how to select a ketubah, and more.
I had fun identifying and collecting images of ketuvot, had pictures of dozens. But then narrowing down the options was harder! While a ketubah is the property of the wife, when the highly decorated ones are chosen, they’re displayed in the home. So, I wanted one that Jeremy would also like.
We went through them, and he indicated his preferences. I then looked at the prices, and whether they were available in Conservative text (since we were being married by a Conservative rabbi in a Conservative synagogue). But even after that I still had a list of 12 that I liked!
So I created a private Facebook album with those photos, product descriptions and links to the websites. I identified my favourites, and then on a visit to Toronto, Jeremy and I sat and discussed the options, ranked them as “tier 1” and “tier 2”, and the each identified our top four (The Acqui by Ze’ev; Royal Wedding by Susanne McGinnis; Stained Glass by Lee Loebman; Arbor Ketubah By Mickie Caspi; Star Ketubah by Nava Shoham), which produced five contenders.
Then, we ran the text by Rabbi Fine, and we had our winner! We ended up picking an unusual design that we both really like, the Star Ketubah by Nava Shoham, sold by ketubah.com. The notes on it were: “Love the drama of this one, even if it’s not traditional at all” (January 27), “Intrigued by it, so bizarre it’s in a whole different category, not sure about it” (February 5), “A real piece of art” (Jeremy, April 29), “Funky and really like it, respectful but not traditional” (me, April 29). Ketubah.com has a wizard which walks you through entering the information needed– the English and Hebrew names of the bride, the groom, and each of your parents, whether the parents are alive, where and when you’ll be getting married, etc. It then sends the link to your officiant for approval. Note that it’s done electronically, so if your officiant is older and not that comfortable online, it’s best to ask them to send the information by “old-fashioned” email. (They were very good with that, once they realized the reason for the delayed approval). Then it arrived in a tube, with detailed information on how to protect it, get it ready for signing, even the pens to use for signing (it’s a tiny space– not even 1 cm high– so you need a super-fine tipped pen that’s acid free, archival quality, etc), and more. Don’t open it when you get it, the natural oils on your fingers will damage the paper/canvass over time; our framer (Germotte) took it out to show it to us while wearing cotton gloves.
Today, it’s framed beautifully and displayed at the foot of the stairs leading from the second story of our home.
We’re very happy with this choice.
Note: the banner is (left-to-right): The Acqui, Royal Wedding, Stained Glass, the too expensive for us Spring Ketubah by Amalya Nini, and Arbor; photos from Jesssyjudaica.com and ketubah.com websites