Post # 1
I’m just beginning the process of converting to Judaism, and it has been a wonderful, enriching experience so far. I love the traditions, the community, and the values. However, there is one thing that troubles me. All converts are officially known as children of Abraham and Sarah, and that is what it will say under my name on our ketubah. I really hate this. I appreciate the symbolism, but my fiance is able to list his ACTUAL parents as his parents, and I feel like I’m doing a dishonour to my own by not including them on this important document. They have been incredibly supportive of my conversion, and I want to acknowledge that they remain an important part of my past, present and future even as I take this different path. Although I’m sure they won’t mind (or notice) that their names are not on the ketubah, it bothers me.
Have any converts out there had a similar concern? Did you go with tradition, or did you find another alternative?
Post # 3
If you really don’t like it you can change it. We are interfaith and our ketubah wont stick to the traditional one because there are alot of parts that don’t apply to me (the christian). It will still have the same meaning and importance but it will fit our marriage and life so much better than the traditional wording. Changing it doesn’t make it any less of a ketubah.
Post # 4
you can choose whatever wording you want on your ketubah – you can even write your own completely. in fact, you can choose not to include parents at all if you don’t want to! i am married to a Chinese guy (not Jewish) and his parents are listed the same way mine are (son of x and y, daughter of a and b). they are still your parents regardless of what religion you convert to.
Post # 5
you can also add more lines to the ketubah so that you can include your parents AND Abraham/Sarah. Our friends have like 8 people signing theirs, so it can all be personalized. You should check etsy because it might be easier to customize one that’s made specifically for you vs just personalized.
Post # 6
this will ultimately be up to your rabbi. while it’s true that you can write whatever you want on your ketubah, it’s a little different if you want your rabbi to sign it because he or she has to approve the wording. i don’t know what denomination you are, but i don’t think it would be a problem for most to add another line with your actual parents’ names under Abraham/Sarah.
Post # 7
Yeah you can write whatever you want, but I agree ask the rabbi that will sign. My brother and SIL are interfaith (she’s mormon) and they are both atheists. They took the word “God” out of their ketubah entirely! You can really do whatever you want since most of them are custom anyway. I’d feel the same way you do, I’d rather have my real parents’ names.
Post # 8
unfortunately if you are getting married by a conservative or orthodox rabbi, they will most likely require you to use the official conservative or orthodox ketubah wording. there isn’t much customization allowed, otherwise they won’t be “kosher.” interfaith ketubahs are a bit different – they aren’t considered “binding” like conservative and orthodox ones are to members of those communities (and i say this as someone who is using an interfaith ketubah – my Fiance is not jewish). i know someone else who converted to judaism before her wedding and also had to list abraham and sarah as her parents, which i agree is unfortunate. i think your rabbi would be the best person to ask about working your parents’ names into the ketubah. it’s possible that if you have the text in hebrew and english, than you could have abraham and sarah listed as your parents on the hebrew side (which would be the side that counts to your rabbi), and then list your actual parents on the english side.
Post # 9
@pb and j:that’s a good point! my (conservative) rabbi told us he doesn’t care about the english translation, but we have to use specific hebrew wording (the translations rarely match). still, run it by your rabbi just in case.
Post # 10
Thanks, everyone! We’re reform, and our rabbi has specified that we need to use the Toronto Reform text. I will ask her about alternatives when we meet with her in December.
Post # 11
pb and j makes a good suggestion. We are conservative with a conservative rabbi officiating and he is mainly concerned with the Aramaic portion of the ketubah being the traditional text. We are free to use more modern, egalitarian text for the English portion. It seems that on the English portion, you would be free to list your actual parents’ names. Definitely bring this option up with your rabbi!
Post # 12
I am a convert. The Hebrew version of our ketubah (I’m Reform, so it was not the traditional Aramaic version) listed me as Ruth bat Avraham v’ Sara. However, the English version listed my full name in English, and listed me as daughter of both of my actual parents.
Post # 13
I recently converted, and that was something that bothered me a bit, however in the English translation, I’m hoping to have my parents names. If not, then I will be displaying my ketubah with a sword my father is presenting my SO with as part of a Scottish tradition, and we will engrave my parents’ names and clan on there. So, at least when they’re displayed in our home, both parents are represented.
Post # 14
This bothered me initially as well, but I understand that the ketubah is a legal document and your convert status needs to be indicated. I honored my mother by letting her hold my veil while I circled and she and Mother-In-Law broke the plate together. We were also the last children married on both sides so their is a dance for that and my parents were also lifted during the hora. All these things made me feel better about it!
Post # 15
Here’s the deal …the Ketubah is a legal document. IF you are not worried about your children being considered Jewish OR moving to Israel, do what you want.
If you are concerned about the above issues, you have an option. You can have two ketubot… One that is a legal document, written on a piece of paper and signed by two male, shomer shabbis witnesses and a second one that is pretty and framed and signed how ever you want with what ever kind of lanugage you want.
For the ketubah to be recognized by the orthodox, it must include the question about sexual status (virgin, widow, divorcee) and have a monetary amount that you will receive if you divorce. The language “ain’t” pretty but it is unquestionable.
I am born Jewish from a long line of rabbis. And my fiance is born Jewish, unquestionably (has a letter from the OU about it since they were Russian emires). We wanted to have BOTH of our voices in our ketubah and both of us to sign it. Thus, we are having a ‘legal’ ketubah drawn up, signed and will put it in an envelope on the back of our “pretty” ketubah.
Post # 16
I’m almost certain that in one of the books I read for conversion that there was an option to say “Hebrew Name, ha giyoret” (female version of convert) in your ketubah instead of “Hebrew Name bat A’A v’S’I”.
I really need to have a conversation with my rabbi because I have big problems with a lot of the traditional ketubah text: it’s not egalitarian, it makes no mention of the groom’s past but does indicate that I am supposedly a virgin, and because I’m a convert (or if I were a divorcee) I’m only “worth” 100 zuzim instead of 200 zuzim he would have to pay if I were a never-married born Jew. I also don’t like the Lieberman Clause on Conservative ketubot, because it implies things about the groom’s character (mainly that he is vindictive and petty).
I keep hearing “oh, but your kids won’t be considered Jewish if you don’t do it ‘right’!” or “what if you move to Israel (since he was born there)!?” Well guess what? Those scare tactics aren’t going to work on me.
I’m a Conservative convert. My kids are already screwed because Israel is too cowardly to reign in the Orthodox monopoly over government affairs. Having an “official” ketubah is not going to help them any when I’m not even recognized as a Jew to begin with; a ketubah is a contract between a Jewish husband and a Jewish wife.
Second, we will have a civil marriage from the US, which means the (current) government of Israel will recognize our marriage if we ever DO move back. But given the continued abuse of the government-sanctioned Orthodox monopoly of power, I was never going to be allowed to divorce there, or get buried there, and neither were my kids. Why would I subject them to that?
So, get the ketubah that you want, and get a rabbi that is 100% on board with signing the ketubah that you want (like I wouldn’t want my rabbi to pressure me to use a ketubah I don’t want, I wouldn’t want him or her to feel pressured to sign off on something they’re not okay with either).