(Closed) Ketubah Question

posted 10 years ago in Jewish
Post # 3
Member
311 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

What did your rabbi say?  The conservative text is usually Aramaic and English and the English is often not a direct translation of the Aramaic anyway.  It is more for tradition.  You could always consider two ketubahs and have the one you put up in your home be in English only.

Post # 5
Member
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

What EK said is pretty common–people often have two languages but yes, often the English one is a flowery, more egal, translation that talks about a more modern understanding of the relationship.  I do know someone that has a direct translation into English too though so it doesn’t have to be that way.

The real answer is to ask your rabbi… and it sounds like you have and got an answer you didn’t agree with.

My feeling on this is sort of that it just isn’t done–tradition and all that.  Same with praying in Hebrew despite the fact that most Jews outside of Israel do not understand Hebrew–We pray in Hebrew (and sometimes Aramaic) because it connects us to generations of Jews before us, it was the language that the covenant with God was formed, the language itself cannot really be separated from Judaism.  Yes, you can pray in any language, really but praying in Hebrew is the ideal.

People have always written their ketubot in Aramaic (and sometimes Hebrew)… that’s actually the important part that the chatan is agreeing to, not the English (this is why the signatures should appear directly under the Aramaic).

So, perhaps this is more incentive to learn Hebrew (and Aramaic… but that’s harder!). πŸ™‚  Sorry no real answer in here–it’s a question that should be posed to your rabbi ultimately. If it really bothers you, bring it up again and ask him what you can do to compromise or something.  Suggest the two ketubah idea–you’ll sign a plain piece of paper which is the actual ketubah in Aramic privately and have the artwork created by an artist with English only.

Post # 6
Member
76 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

Out of all the Jewish weddings I have been to, I’ve never seen a Ketubah in just English.  Ours was in both English and Aramaic, and husband and I cannot traslate a word of Aramaic.  I believe it is just tradition — even though I am unable to read it, I love having something that connects me to my past hanging (well, will hang when we have a real house and not just a tiny condo) on the wall that I will see every day.

Are you having your Ketubah custom made?  If not, have you looked into the possibility of even finding one just in English?  It may be more difficult that you think.

Post # 7
Member
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Yeah, if you’re having it custom made then there will probably not be a problem.  Although I do know some ketubah artists have certain requirements — some will not write ketubot for intermarriages, some will only write a ketubah if the couple is taking some measure to prevent iggun, etc… good ketubah artists know the halakhah for writing ketubot but I don’t know whether writing a ketubah only in English would matter.

Post # 8
Member
311 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

I’m pretty sure you can get a Ketubah written in English only – but I think the ultimate answer is whether or not your rabbi will marry you with an English only ketubah.  If you’re having a conservative wedding, I wouldn’t count on him/her being okay with it, but it’s worth asking if it’s important to you.

Post # 10
Member
76 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

Honestly, I think it may be a bit unreasonable to want to get married in the Jewish faith and use a Ketubah and not be willing to have it done in the traditional Hebrew or Aramaic.  While I understand your point of view, it comes off as mistrust in your faith (after all, your Rabbi is supposed to go over the translation of Ketubah with you if you so desire prior to signing — and why would you allow someone to marry you in the Jewish faith if you don’t even trust him?).  I, personally, have never heard of someone unwilling to sign a Ketubah due to their inability to read it.

If you are really that concerned about using one from an artistic source rather than a religious source, instead of getting a decorative Ketubah, ask your Rabbi to supply just the basic, traiditional, 8×10 piece of paper that serves as a Ketubah (most Rabbis should give you this option).

Post # 11
Member
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I got mine done only in English! It’s an interfaith wedding, so I thought it was weird to just transliterate my FI’s and his parents’ names. I also completely agree that it’s very weird signing a document that I can’t read — then again, I don’t see it as a binding legal document.

If you want to check out a proof, PM me with your email and I’ll email it to you directly (it contains a ton of personal info so I’d rather not post it publicly here). I got it from newketubah.com. But honestly, it’s the most beautiful ketubah I’ve ever seen.

FYI — your rabbi is probably going to disagree. My rabbi is really hippie-dippy and she even had qualms with it. I didn’t really care.

Post # 13
Member
76 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

In most cases, the couple DOES sign the Ketubah.  Perhaps it differs if you are orthodox or reform, but at least for us (we are conservative), our Ketubah had to be signed by our Rabbi, in addition to us, and two witnesses (not related to us).

My hushabd has been a ketubah witness twice before, and in both instances, it was the same — the Rabbi, the couple, and two witnesses signed the Ketubah.

Interestingly, I just looked at some pre-made Ketubahs online, and all Ketubahs with any Hebrew or Aramaic on them had signing spots for the bride and groom, but the English only version only had a spot for the witnesses.  Perhaps it is ONLY in the instance if you choose to not include Hebrew or Aramaic when the bride and groom does not sign?  This, I do not know, as I have only ever seen the bride and groom sign, but I have never seen an English-only Ketubah before.

Post # 14
Member
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Ju, all the ketubot I’ve seen have 5 spaces for signatures: the bride and groom, the two witnesses, and the rabbi. I’ve never heard of the bride and groom not signing the ketubah. Hmm. 

Julie, our ketubah is only in English and we have 5 lines for signatures. We will definitely be signing ours! 

To each his own, I suppose.

Post # 15
Member
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Halakhically, the ketubah only needs to be signed by the two eidm (witnesses) that witness the kinyan (acceptance of the terms of the ketubah by the groom) and no one else. That’s the minimum required.

We are having a traditional wedding and our ketubah only has Aramaic and only two lines for signatures (for the eidim).  I’m pretty excited — it’s been written this week! πŸ™‚   To be clear, we’re Conservative but on the observant/traditional end.

I suspect the custom of the rabbi (and perhaps other officiants) signing the ketubah came about because there perhaps were not any other acceptable witnesses available.  Traditionally, eidim should be shomer mitzvot and in some communities, the only ones that qualified were the rabbi, cantor or gabbai. I think this requirement has been relaxed in some liberal communities.

I’ve seen different ketubot with English, no English, etc.. the eidim’s lines should be immediately underneath the Aramaic– halahkically that is the part of the document that matters.  Whether you have two or four eidim is up to you and the rabbi, obviously. 

So, regardless of English, Aramaic/Hebrew, the bride and groom signing is just not required.  The bottom line is really: consult your rabbi about this. πŸ™‚

Post # 16
Member
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

btw ju1244–I just read your comment about the rabbi saying you don’t sign the ketubah specifically… I guess I thought your argument with it was that you and your Fiance are the ones agreeing to the ketubah and that was the problem that you had.  Sure, you don’t need to sign it but the terms of the ketubah are still accepted by your Fiance (and you in the case that you include the Lieberman clause). Still, it’s your ketubah of course. πŸ™‚

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