Demure by Priceless - Ketubah Signing Rules

                     Ketubah Signing Rules

                   Ketubah Signing Rules


The Jewish Wedding: The Ketubah Signing

The Ketubah Signing ceremony may seem like a small detail compared to the overall excitement and ceremony of a Jewish wedding, but it is the ketubah signing that makes the marriage legal and binding according to Jewish law—historically and to the present day.

The Orthodox Jewish Ketubah Signing

In Orthodox Jewish weddings, the ketubah signing, traditionally, takes place in a secluded area where the attendees are the Rabbi, the fathers of the bride and groom, male family members and a few close friends. The officiating rabbi will present the ketubah to the groom and two witnesses that the groom has appointed. This special honor is most often reserved for revered friends or teachers. Furthermore, the two witnesses must be male, unrelated to either the bride or the groom and be Sabbath observers. Their names will be on this most important document that will follow the bride and groom for the rest of their lives together.

The content of the ketubah is examined and approved and the ketubah signing now takes place. At this point, the witnesses sign their names and the ketubah is validated. The Rabbi and the groom may, but not necessarily sign the ketubah. Later under the chuppah, the ketubah is read aloud and given to bride (usually the bride’s mother will hold it for safekeeping).

Modern Ketubah Signing

Today, Jewish weddings have many different variations to the ketubah signing ceremony. This is determined by prevailing local customs, the community you are part of and, of course, the couple’s preferences. Some observant communities will include the bride and female family members to be present at the ketubah signing-- though she will not sign the ketubah.

Many modern Jewish weddings embrace an egalitarian way of looking at the ketubah and the ketubah signing. In these ceremonies, the ketubah is signed by both the bride and groom, the Rabbi or Officiant and two or more witnesses of the couple’s choosing.

Daniel Azoulay is a ketubah artist who has a deep understanding of the significance of this Jewish legal document--which is so very much more than a marriage contract. His beautiful art ketubahs are visual expressions of the sanctity of the love that the bride and groom share and that will continue to grow in the course of their marriage. He provides a wide range of text styles to accommodate prevailing Jewish wedding customs.


Judaica Stores are my Wonderland

                    Jewish Marriage Ketubah

                  Jewish Marriage Ketubah

When I walk into a Judaica store, I feel just as if I were a kid walking into a candy store.

So much to see, so much to look at! I am enchanted by all the colors and shapes of the dreidles, the Chanukah menorahs and the mezuzahs in the Judaica store.  A lot of pieces immediately evoke a wonderful nostalgia in me; suddenly I am back in my grandparents’ homes!  A familiar-looking silver wine cup awakens in me a deep longing to be that child, who I once was, sitting around the Sabbath table, listening to my father recite the Kiddush—the blessing of the wine.

But, my fascination with the Judaica store does not end here with mere nostalgia.  There are so many new and beautiful ritual pieces and Judaic art that didn’t exist years ago: traditional and modern, colorful or monochromatic and elegant or humorous. The Judaica store, today, is filled with Judaic objects made of paper, plastic, wood, ceramic, glass, stone, silver, brass, aluminum –you name the material-- it is there.

Another thing that I really admire and enjoy is the innovation that I find in so much of the work that I see in my local Judaica store. Maybe, it intrigues me so because of the memories and associations I have with the more traditional pieces that were part of my childhood. The new Judaic art pieces embraces, acknowledges and gives homage to the old form, but at the same time, it breathes new life into a very traditional art form and renews the ritual object and makes relevant the ritual.

Recently, I was in Jerusalem in the Judaica store/gallery of artist, Danny Azoulay.  Although, I was familiar with his incredibly beautiful paper cut ketubahs, I hadn’t realized that he also makes amazing hand painted ceramic Judaica. There was a perfect combination of traditional and contemporary elements in his pieces for me. I especially loved his colorful dreidles with sterling silver pieces.

Whenever I hit a new city I try to find a Judaica store to explore. It feels little like home and a little like new territory to explore.

The Jewish Ketubah: A standard Contract?

  Jewish Marriage Ketubah By Danny Azoulay

Jewish Marriage Ketubah By Danny Azoulay

While it might be thought of as a standard or technical contract, the Jewish ketubah can be a beautiful way to commemorate and celebrate the new couple’s commitment in a highly personal way. Thanks to the large variety of text options and designs available today, there is the right Jewish Ketubah out there for every Jewish couple.

The Jewish Ketubah: A Beautified Tradition

Historically, Jewish art has been predominantly about making objects of ritual significance and beautifying them (hidur mitzvot). From masterly-crafted wine cups to mezuzahs on doorposts, to illuminated Passover haggadahs and—yes—to Jewish ketubahs. Artists painted religiously-inspired symbols and motifs, as well as, biblical scenes and verses to create complex and breathtaking masterpieces.

A quick Google search will show you ornately-detailed Jewish ketubahs from Middle Eastern and European communities that went way beyond their function as a legal religious marriage contract. Although, rooted in Jewish law and belief, these Jewish ketubahs also reflected the artistic sensibilities of the family. The Jewish Ketubah, then and now, is a product of Jewish legal requirements, traditions and an aesthetic that is, often, determinant of its time and the artistic sensibilities that are/were prevalent in the region in which it was produced.  Yes, just like modern day couples, the couples back then wanted to be able to connect emotionally with the very document that gives the legal basis for their new life together.

Finding the Right Jewish Ketubah for You

As two people preparing for your wedding day, a lot of your time will be spent in planning a wedding that accommodates your families and other important people in your lives. The wonderful thing about choosing your Jewish Ketubah is that you can take a break from all that and focus on what you, as a couple, want to hold on to for the rest of your marriage.

When it comes to the texts, you can choose from the traditional Aramaic to more modern Hebrew or any other language you understand best. There are even options to feature a combination of the original text along with a translation. If the wording of the traditional text is not for you, there are many different texts to choose from as well.

And, there are many different Jewish ketubah design styles available. From a biblical verse or a meaningful phrase you’d like to feature, to the materials and colors used-- you and your loved one can find a ketubah that truly reflects your relationship and your aesthetic taste. 

Danny Azoulay is an artist who creates breathtaking Jewish ketubahs. He offers text and style options that speak to a wide variety of modern Jewish couples, seamlessly displayed in flawless designs. Using the paper cut method, and incorporating gold and silver leaf with highly saturated touches of color, you can find a Jewish ketubah that celebrates your style and your new life together.

Mazal tov!


Views on Jewish Marriage

  Jewish Marriage Ketubah By Danny Azoulay

Jewish Marriage Ketubah By Danny Azoulay

Three things have a faint savor of the world to come: Sabbath, the sun and married love.  (Talmud, Berakhot)

Jewish marriage is viewed as the cornerstone of the perpetuation of the Jewish people.  The Bible--from Genesis on--devotes many of its words to the relation of a man and his wife and vice a versa.  Careful thought, discussion and commentary dedicated to the centricity and the sanctity of the Jewish marriage has preoccupied Talmudic scholars from the time of the sages to the present.

A quintessential view of Jewish marriage is that a wife and husband complete each other: that two halves become one; “Husband and wife are like one flesh “(Talmud: Menahot 93b).  Or, with a slightly different math, in Ecclesiastes 4:9 “Two are better than one”.  The mystical Zohar (I 91a) describes “.

The Jewish marriage is, of course, important for the fulfillment of the first mitzvah of the Torah (Genesis 2:31) To be fruitful and multiply...  But, love and companionship are the true building blocks of Jewish marriage. The bride and bridegroom are referred to as reim ahuvim, or beloved friends.  

The sanctity of Jewish marriage is carried over to the importance placed on the Jewish marriage ceremony. In the past the Erusin (betrothal) and Kiddushin (sanctification) ceremonies were separated in time, but today, they take place sequentially at the wedding.  This includes the signing of the ketubah, the Bedeken (lowering the bride’s veil over her face), the exchange of a ring, the recital of the seven blessings and smashing the glass under the chuppah. Afterwards, the bride and groom will have a few moments to themselves in the Yihud (seclusion). This concludes the Jewish marriage ceremony and the party begins!  And so does the Jewish marriage!

Mazel Tov. 

Ketubah Design: How to Choose ?

  Paper cut Ketubah

Paper cut Ketubah

Ketubah Design is a Traditional Jewish Art

A Ketubah (literally meaning “it is written”) is a legal Jewish marriage contract.  Historically, the ketubah delineated the responsibilities of the groom towards his future wife and served as a legal guarantee that the groom would provide adequate financial support for his wife in the case of a divorce or death.  What is so very interesting about the ketubah, is that this legal document was decorated and ornamented with great artistic care and thought. Through the centuries, ketubah design has proven to be one of the most prevalent artistic expressions of Jewish art.

Ketubah Design Today

These days, the modern Ketubah is less of a prenuptial agreement and more of a proclamation of the new couple's commitment to each other, to their love and to their union. Couples can choose from Orthodox, Conservative,
or Reform texts, but also may make changes to contemporize and personalize the texts in the ketubah design.
Today--as was in the past--a great deal of attention is given to the artistic side of the ketubah design.
There is an abundance of choice in ketubah design offered by super-talented artists. There are modern and traditional: Eastern and Western-oriented themes; Some abstract and some illustrative: some evocative and others with traditional symbolic elements. In the past, architectural elements (signifying the building of a Jewish home) or biblical scenes were very often depicted.  Today the tree, rich in symbolism and meaning is a popular motif.   

Choosing a ketubah design is a significant decision for most couples, as it is rarely just an aesthetic decision, but often a visual expression of the love they feel. After the ceremony, the newlyweds usually frame and proudly display their ketubahs in their home. 

Which Ketubah Design fits You

Ketubahs come in a variety of shapes, colors and techniques: There are hand painted, printed and delicate paper cut ketubahs. Danny Azoulay is a well-known artist who specializes in paper-cut ketubahs that are the fruit of an inspired and creative sense of design. He applies his particularly fresh vision to the traditional elements of ketubah design

The Ketubah Signing: The Moment Has Finally Arrived

    Jewish Art

 Jewish Art

All the preparations are complete and you are finally surrounded by your family and friends. Excitement surges throughout the wedding hall. You are asked to sit, and the gorgeous marriage contract is laid out before you - the ketubah signing begins.

The ketubah signing confirms the obligations of the husband to his wife. Traditionally, the ketubah states that the bride was proposed to and had accepted without coercion. The ketubah clearly specified the wife’s rights to: clothing, shelter and conjugal relations. It also protected the bride, financially, should death or divorce occur. As you can imagine, the ketubah signing was, and still remains, essential to the Jewish wedding ceremony.

The ketubah signing ceremony is a prominent part of the Jewish wedding. Though, the traditional text is still going strong, modern and alternative texts, including mutual wedding vows representative of the couple’s vision of their marriage and faith, are available and popular.

Looking down at the wedding document spread before you during the ketubah signing, you remember picking out the beautifully designed ketubah with your beloved, not so long ago. One of you might’ve had a clear idea of what you wanted your ketubah to look like, and which artist you wanted to buy it from; or maybe you checked out a few different websites that friends of yours recommended. The Rabbi/Officiant fills in the names of the bride and groom, the date and the location of the wedding (unless your ketubah has been personalized with this information, before the ketubah signing). 

Finally, the Rabbi hands you the pen and shows you and the witnesses where to sign. Depending on what you decided beforehand, the groom might be signing alone, or the bride might also be taking part in the ketubah signing, for a more a modern ceremony. You carefully sign your name and commit one’s self to a lifetime of cherishing one another: The ketubah signing is the testament to a nurturing love. The ketubah signing is not only a legal and binding contract but commemorates this most sacred and joyful event.

Make this moment one that you can celebrate for the rest of your lives, with a unique and breathtaking Ketubah from one of the most talented Ketubah artists in the world, Daniel Azoulay. Check out his site for a full range of designs and text options. Begin the magic of your Ketubah signing today.


Orthodox Jewish wedding

    Jewish Art

 Jewish Art

In spite of the changes in modern Jewish life, the Orthodox Jewish wedding is still preferred by many couples on their wedding day. Fully observant or not, there is something to be said about traditions that have endured for thousands of years.

The Orthodox Jewish wedding is full of meaningful traditions and rituals, and has been thought through and shaped by the greatest Sages of the generations. It encompasses the legalities of Jewish law or halacha, with spiritual concepts and, of course, the faith in G-d.  Within the framework of the Orthodox Jewish wedding, there is room for lots of variation due to the differences in customs based on family minhag (tradition).

A brief breakdown of the Orthodox Jewish Wedding:

The couple parts a week before the wedding and will only meet again in the moments before the chuppah ceremony. The night before the wedding the bride goes for ritual immersion in the mikvah (ritual bath). The Orthodox Jewish wedding begins with the arrival of the guests and the ketubah signing by the groom and two male witnesses. The groom then goes to see his bride for the first time in a week, and covers her face with her veil. He is then danced to the chuppah, dressed in a white tunic, while the Bride slowly makes her way to the wedding canopy, allowing for her bridesmaids to go down the aisle before her.

The Orthodox Jewish wedding ceremony under the chuppah mainly comprises of the presentation and reading aloud of the ketubah, the drinking of wine, the inspection and the bestowal of the wedding band and the recital of the seven blessings. The Orthodox wedding ceremony ends with the breaking of the glass as the bridegroom recites “If I forget thee Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill” (Psalm 137:5) The couple is then danced to a room where they will be left alone for their very first time. Guests begin the feast, and the first dance takes place as the bride and groom arrive to the dining hall. It is a mitzvah to dance, celebrate and entertain the newly wedded couple

Mazal Tov!

The Jewish Orthodox wedding is rich with religious significance and considered one of the most momentous events in a person’s life, as well as, the cornerstone of the continuity of the Jewish people.

There is one part of the Orthodox Jewish wedding that remains with the couple for the duration of their marriage, and that is the ketubah. More than just a contract, a ketubah can be a beautiful and artistic document cherished by the entire family and generations to follow. Daniel Azoulay is a world-renowned artist, who creates unique and stunning ketubahs in a range of designs and texts, so that you can relive these beautiful moments every day.

So, What is Jewish Art?

    Jewish Art

 Jewish Art

The most distinguishing aspect of Jewish Art is its intrinsic connection to spirituality.

Jewish Art describes that spirituality in three basic contexts: man relating to himself, man relating to others, or man relating to the divine. It goes without saying, that this is clearly expressed in the design of the many ritual objects that are part of Jewish tradition and ritual. This includes mezuzahs, washing cups, prayer shawls and illuminated scriptures books. Hidur Mitzvot (the mitzvah of the beautification of the Mitzvahs) certainly encouraged the creation of these objects of Jewish Art.  

A Few Words on the History of Jewish Art

Given the Biblically-based restriction from depicting iconic images, which was a safeguard against idol-worship, one would think that Jewish Art would be largely avoided, but there is evidence that the opposite is true.

Poetry and music have always been a major part of religious service -- examples being the Levites performing in the Holy Temple, and King David, author of the Psalms. Actually, Jewish Art in the form of sculpting, tapestry, calligraphy and painting had been prevalent and appreciated.

In fact, the First and Second Holy Temples, and all of their contents as described in the Bible, were masterpieces, in their own right. With the candelabrum and cherubs from pure gold, and an intricate tapestry separating the main worship space from the Holy of Holies; physical beauty enhanced the spiritual energy.

Jewish Art Today

One ritual medium of Jewish Art that has always been, and is still extremely popular today, is the Ketubah, or the Jewish marriage contract. The beautification of this legal document belies the sanctity of marriage and the importance that Judaism places on the continuity of the Jewish home and consequently the Jewish people

Danny Azoulay is the go-to for couples looking to mark this joyous, once-in-a-lifetime event, with a beautiful Ketubah that can be enjoyed, as they say, until 120. Danny’s unique layered, paper cut style incorporates color, as well as gold and silver leafing, for masterpieces that are a true expression of Jewish Art today.   

The Jewish Wedding Ceremony Marriage Brings Us Together

    Jewish Wedding

 Jewish Wedding

One thing that virtually all cultures have in common is the significance of the wedding ceremony. Yes, there are many differences, but weddings are always an exciting and joyous time of new beginnings. The Jewish wedding ceremony is, of course, no exception.

Under the Jewish Wedding Canopy

Perhaps one of the most well-known features of the Jewish wedding ceremony is the Chupah. There—whether it be under a tallit, a canopy of flowers, a hand-embroidered masterpiece or a tie-dyed sheet— the kidushim ceremony takes place between the young couple. The magic of this most magnitude and the intimacy of this moment of the Jewish wedding ceremony permeates through the crowd of family and celebrants.

Making the Magic of the Jewish Wedding Ceremony Last

Under the Chupah, the ketubah (the Jewish wedding contract) is read out loud by the rabbi or officiant. This very significant part of the Jewish wedding ceremony is one of the main ways that the couple can recapture the sanctity and joy throughout their married life together. Danny Azoulay is a gifted artist who uses the ketubah as his medium for expressing the deep beauty of the Jewish wedding ceremony, the heart of Jewish existence. Check out his site for a full view of some of the most sought-after ketubahs today.

Smashing the Glass and Let’s Celebrate

After the recital of the ketubbah and the seven blessings, a glass is broken by the husband (traditionally) and more often, today, by the couple together. The reasoning behind this, is most often explained, that as the glass is shattered we are to remember the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Immediately following this solemn minute are the shouts and cries of jubilation.

Mazel Tov!

One of the more interesting facts about the modern day Jewish Wedding Ceremony is that it actually combines what used to be a much more prolonged process in courtship.

What is now the engagement period used to be an actual betrothal, which had stronger significance in the technicalities of Jewish Law in a few different contexts. Now, because this was “back in the day,” this would often take place when the couples were in their early teens, so that the actual wedding ceremony would take place when both parties had time to enjoy the remainder of their childhood.

There are a lot of things that have been preserved throughout the ages in the Jewish Wedding Ceremony, but thankfully, we have come a long way from childhood betrothal.

-- how often it’s properly pronounced, however, is a different matter altogether. Not only that, but while many would be able to tell you that the wedding canopy is central to the Jewish wedding ceremony, its function is too esoteric to have made it into pop culture.

which describes the basic, technical obligations of man to his wife. While the text is a contract in a very real sense

Jewish wedding Rings: An old tradition, or a must have?

   Jewish wedding ring on Ketubah

 Jewish wedding ring on Ketubah

Jewish Wedding Rings

The bestowal of the Jewish wedding ring is a prominent and emotionally-charged moment in the Jewish wedding ceremony.

According to tradition, the Jewish wedding ring is a gift given to the bride by the groom during kidushim in the Jewish Wedding ceremony. It seals the deal, so to speak. The Jewish wedding ring ceremony begins when the ring is examined by the Rabbi who checks its wholeness, makes sure it’s worth is more than a pruta (a coin of small value) and that it is indeed the property of the groom to give away. The groom, then, places the ring on his bride's right index finger. At the end of the ceremony, the bride moves it to the "ring finger" of her left hand.

In fact, the Jewish wedding ring serves a dual purpose: it is a symbol of the bride and groom's commitment to each other-- like the ring that represents an unbroken circle. Moreover, the Jewish wedding ring, in its simple, minimalistic and perfect shape is said to be a portent for a smooth equable life together for the couple.

Traditionally, Jewish wedding rings should be totally unadorned and without gems or stones. The Jewish wedding ring was to be one continuous circle, whose metal should not be cut through or pierced. Nowadays, rings are usually gold, are often engraved on the inside, or alternatively, have a continuous design or a Hebrew saying engraved or in raised letters They may be made of any type of metal, as well. The two-ring ceremony has also been adopted in accordance to the wishes of the couple.

Currently, the Jewish wedding ring custom, and a lot of these traditions are being rediscovered and "renewed and revived" by couples seeking to blend tradition with a modern outlook on marriage.

One of the most significant of modern Jewish wedding traditions is the art kettubah. The kettubah is a Jewish wedding contract, a type of a prenuptial agreement, that serves to protect a wife’s right to financial support.

The new kettubahs are made in a wide range of designs with more modern content; which matches the tastes and style of couples who desire to continue this meaningful Jewish wedding tradition.

Prominent among the many artists who offer beautifully-designed kettubot is Danny Azoulay, an Israeli kettubah artist who specializes in paper cut kettubot. These paper cut kettubot are the fruit of an inspired and creative sense of design that can also be personalized upon request.

What is a Ketubah? 6 Things Worth Knowing

  Modern Jewish wedding Ketubah

Modern Jewish wedding Ketubah

What is a ketubah and what is the meaning of the word?

The word, ketubah, literally means “what is written” and is a Jewish wedding contract. The oldest existing ketubah dates back to the 4th century BC and was found in Cairo, Egypt.

What is a ketubah, traditionally?

The ketubah was a legal wedding document that delineated the obligations of the groom to his bride. What a ketubah included, as well, was the actual settlement that would be awarded to her in the case of divorce or the death of her husband. Ketubahs from a variety of regions and even from different eras were pretty much similar in content and form.

What is a ketubah’s content today?

Today, a ketubah can be quite diverse depending on the sort of Jewish ceremony you are having. The Orthodox ketubah still conforms with the traditional ketubahs of the past, while Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative ketubahs are marriage contracts with the addition of the couple’s wedding vows: a mutual proclamation of the couple’s vision of their commitment and their shared aspirations.

When does the signing of the ketubah take place?

Traditionally, the ketubah is signed by two witnesses (male, orthodox and unrelated to the couple) -- just prior to the nuptials.  Today, the non-orthodox couples will sign the ketubah, as will the rabbi/officiant and witnesses of the couple’s choosing.

Later, under the chuppah, the rabbi/officiant will often read the ketubah aloud- in front of all the celebrants.

What is a ketubah’s language?

Once again, what is a ketubah’s language is entirely dependent on what kind of ceremony is performed. The traditional ketubahs are still today written in Aramaic (as they were in the Talmudic period), while Hebrew and/or English, French, Italian and Spanish are frequently utilized.

What is an art ketubah?

Examples of painted and illuminated ketubahs have been found dating from as early as the Middle Ages. It became particularly popular with the Sephardic Jews. What is a ketubah-- in the past and in the present- is most definitely a binding legal document; But what makes this legal document so unique is the fact that it was, and still is, lavished with careful artistry, symbolism and ornamental details that represent the couple’s taste. Many artists, today--including Danny Azoulay, a well-known paper cut ketubah artist-- continue to create beautiful art ketubahs that continue to express the sanctity and beauty of the Jewish wedding and the couple’s union.

5 Jewish Wedding Traditions Worthwhile Knowing

So, you're getting married. The invitations, the guests, the band, the flowers and everything else are ready.
And now for the Jewish wedding traditions...

A traditional Jewish wedding is chock full of rituals. These Jewish wedding traditions are meaningful and celebrate the most momentous day in the lives of the new couple and the building of a Jewish home. A lot of these rituals date back to ancient times. Here are some tips how to combine Jewish wedding traditions with more modernity.

 Modern Paper cut Ketubah 

Modern Paper cut Ketubah 

The Ketubah

The ketubah is a Jewish wedding contract, which served as type of prenuptial agreement, protecting a wife’s rights: physical, conjugal and financial support.

Today—ketubot--following, but differing somewhat from the Jewish wedding tradition-- have a wide range of texts to suit the couple’s particular beliefs, taste and lifestyle. Beautifully illuminated and paper cut art ketubahs are available. Among the many ketubah artists is Danny Azoulay a well-known Israeli-based artist, who specializes in finely-detailed paper cut ketubot.

The ketubah is signed before/by witnesses before the ceremony begins and is often read under the chuppah.

 Jewish Wedding

Jewish Wedding


The Jewish wedding tradition, Bedeken, literally means “covering” in Yiddish. It entails the groom covering the bride with her veil, immediately leading up to the nuptials. This Jewish wedding tradition originates in the biblical story of Jacob who married Leah instead of his intended, Rachel. It is usually a very emotionally charged moment since it is very often the first time the couple gets a glimpse of one another on their wedding day.


According to Jewish wedding tradition, the ceremony takes place under a wedding canopy: an intimate, sanctified space. The construction of a chuppah must be a temporary structure made by human hands and symbolizes the bride and groom building a new Jewish home.

Nowadays, a lot of young couples continue this Jewish wedding tradition by designing their own chuppah. It can be created with batik, silk, wool, foliage and other materials. The chuppah is often handheld, by friends or family of the couple’s choosing.

The Seven Blessings

The Seven Blessings embody a significant part of the Jewish wedding tradition, emphasizing the prayers for peace in Jerusalem and good wishes and blessings for the couple.

Today, non-Orthodox couples choose to honor their special guests by asking them to read, sing or recite some of their personal blessings, wishes, poetry or song.

Breaking of the Glass

One of the most known and loved Jewish wedding tradition is the breaking of the glass.
As the chuppah ceremony comes to an end, the groom stomps on a glass shattering it.
One of the explanations for this is that the glass represents the destruction of the Temple and even in times of great joy-- such as a wedding--we should remember the losses withstood by the Jewish people 

These days, couples most often share the honor, shattering one or two wrapped glasses together to the happy cries of “Mazel Tov”.

Breaking the Glass at Jewish Weddings

  Breaking the glass at jewish weddings

Breaking the glass at jewish weddings

One of the most well-known and iconic rituals is breaking the glass at the end of the Jewish ceremony under the chupah.
Traditionally, the groom did the stomping, but nowadays the couple often share this maneuver together by smashing one or two glasses in unison.

What is the explanation for breaking the glass at Jewish weddings?

As very often is the case in Judaism, there is no one answer for this. A variety of explanations are given, depending on who you ask.

One of the oldest explanations for breaking the glass at a Jewish wedding dates from the days of the Talmud: the story of a rabbi (Mar) who hosts the wedding of his son. During the wedding, he sees that the attending rabbis are very joyous.  He takes an expensive cup and breaks it in their presence, which has an immediate sobering effect on the celebrants.  It is said that the reasoning behind the breaking of the glass was to make sure the rabbis wouldn’t become too carried away in their merriment and end up sinning.

According to another explanation, breaking the glass at a Jewish wedding was a way to keep demons away. The assumption here is, that the loud noise caused by breaking the glass would frighten the demons away or confuse them into thinking it was an event of mourning, not of celebration and leave the bride and groom to rejoice undisturbed.

Other interpretations are that breaking the glass - “the betrothal wine glass”- after the ceremony affirms that the marriage is now valid.  Alternatively, a more modern interpretation is that breaking the glass at a Jewish wedding is a reminder of the fragile nature of human relations and to cherish them.

The explanation most often given today for breaking the glass at a Jewish wedding is a reference to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem: a reminder that even at times of great joy, we recall the pain and losses suffered by the Jewish people. Frequently, before the breaking of the glass, the words from Psalms “If I forget thee O Jerusalem, may my right-hand fail...” are recited.

A trend that has recently become more popular is that the newly married couple gather the bits and pieces of glass and create a keepsake with the shards to commemorate this incredible moment in their lives.

Whatever the interpretation be, breaking the glass is one of the most important traditions in any Jewish wedding, marking the beginning of the bride and groom’s new life together.

Ketubah Texts: Choosing an Appropriate Text

Personalize your wedding day with a ketubah text for Jewish, interfaith, or secular ceremonies

   Round text on Paper cut Ketubah

 Round text on Paper cut Ketubah

The traditional Aramaic Ketubah text reflects a long history of Jewish values and culture. Historically, the ketubah is a legal Jewish wedding document that outlines a groom’s obligations to his wife, including financial terms which are clearly delineated.

Today, as well as the Orthodox Aramaic text, alternative ketubah texts are available for young couples. When planning a wedding, couples can choose a ketubah text that truly expresses their own personal values and is appropriate to their vision of marriage.

Ketubah texts have rapidly evolved over recent years. Some texts emphasize a veneration of tradition and the continuity of the Jewish family, while modern ketubah texts often put an emphasis on a more egalitarian view of marriage--one based on love and a shared vision and more suited to the individual couple’s needs.

So, how do we know what kind of ketubah text we need?
Before choosing a Ketubah text (especially in the case of Orthodox or Conservative ceremonies) it is important to consult with the Rabbi about the official requirements. The Ketubah text is determined by the couple’s wedding preference: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, interfaith, as well as other options.
Nowadays, couples can choose from a variety of texts which fit their specific requirements. The well-known ketubah artist, Danny Azoulay, offers beautiful paper cut ketubahs, in a variety of texts and languages:

Orthodox text – Aramaic

The traditional Aramaic Orthodox text is derived from the original ketubah text that outlines the groom’s financial obligations to his bride and has been preserved by Jewish tradition for hundreds of years. This Ketubah text is accepted by the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA)

Orthodox text with English - Aramaic with English

The traditional Orthodox ketubah text (RCA) which includes an English codicil to the Aramaic text that describes a marriage based on faith, love and commitment.

Reform text - Hebrew with English

Written in modern Hebrew and in English, this ketubah text focuses on the couple’s mutual Jewish faith and their commitment to cherish and support each other in their marriage.

Conservative text -with Lieberman clause - Aramaic with English

A traditional Aramaic text with the addition of the Lieberman Clause (in Aramaic), which affirms the groom’s promise to give his wife a Jewish divorce (Get) if she requests one.

Interfaith text -Hebrew with English

These texts are designed to suit interfaith couples building a home together and are respectful of both backgrounds and faiths.

Custom text

This option is intended for those couples who wish to write their own text;

These texts can be gender-oriented and therefore suitable for same-sex marriages or commitment ceremonies.

Danny Azoulay Modern Ketubahs specializes in creating beautifully-designed, contemporary art ketubahs for all couples whether they be Jewish, interfaith, same-sex, or multi-cultural.

Ketubot, what is there to know?

   Paper cut Ketubah By Danny Azoulay

 Paper cut Ketubah By Danny Azoulay

Nowadays, many young couples are incorporating the ketubah, a document with old origins and a rich artistic history, into their weddings.

Ketubot are Jewish marriage contracts; basically, a pre-nuptial agreement, which traditionally served to protect a bride’s right to financial support, and outlined the responsibilities and obligations of the groom.

Kettubot, as legal documents, includes the essential information pertaining to the wedding: the wedding date and location, names of the bride and groom, and enumerates the groom’s obligations to his bride, as well as, a monetary compensation in the case of abandonment, divorce or death. The Kettubot texts are written with specific provisions for each marriage. They are signed by two male witnesses according to the traditional practice.

Today, there are different types of kettubot texts to choose from: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and interfaith- or even a more personalized, custom/write-your-own vows.

With the popularity of interfaith marriages and different kind of weddings, couples can find a variety of kettubot that fit their lifestyle. Many of them include multiple languages, adding to the kettubah's personal touch and the couple's cultural and aesthetic distinctions. At times, couples will choose to write their own text, which may include the vows they are making to one another or even a special text they particularly love.

Kettubot are made in a wide range of designs in keeping with the taste and style of the couples who wish to perpetuate this Jewish tradition; maintaining the writing and signing of ketubot as an central part of their Jewish wedding ceremony.

Today, many artists offer all kinds of art Kettubot. Among them is Danny Azoulay, a well-known judaica artist who specializes in paper cut ketubbot. These paper cut ketubot are the fruit of an creative and inspired sense of design that can fit the customer’s request and include a text chosen by the couple, according to their needs and preferences. The ketubot artwork are beautifully crafted for future display as a centerpiece in the couple’s home. It will always bring back the dearest memories of a perfect day.

To commemorate this auspicious day, check the vast and rich collection of art-designed paper cut ketubbot. His collection is wide and comprehensive, attentive to tradition, while looking to the future-- to generations of Jewish families to come.