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.