Ketubah Text Explained...
Orthodox (Commonly referred to as Traditional Aramaic)
This text traces its origin back to the period of the Babylonian exile. It basically defines the husband’s obligation to his wife. It was made to safeguard a woman’s property and status in marriage in case the husband died, divorced, or deserted her. This text is recognized as a legal contractual agreement. If you intend to use this text, first select the Ketubah that you like and then present that artist’s Aramaic text to your rabbi for him to approve. There are normally a number of variations in spellings and its always important to ensure they concur with the preferences of your rabbi.
The Conservative with Lieberman Clause
This text is very similar to the Orthodox text, the main difference being the addition of the Lieberman Clause. The Clause is a legally binding agreement that states that, in the event of a divorce, the couple agrees to accept the decision reached by the Rabbinic Assembly concerning their Jewish divorce (gett). The majority of the Conservative clergy insist that this clause should be in the ketubah. The purpose of this clause is to prevent either of the spouses from using the divorce as a bargaining tool against the other. For instance, not receiving a ‘gett’ would prevent a woman from remarrying.
The Reform - (also referred to as Egalitarian)
These vows vary from artist to artist so you should read the text that accompanies each ketubah that you are considering. They are often beautifully written expressions of love, devotion and commitment. The Hebrew is usually a direct translation of the English. Be sure your officiant approves your text choice!
There are a wide variety of interfaith texts available. Their wording varies from one artist to the next. Many of them have complete Hebrew translations of the English text. Others feature a Hebrew heading, a few lines that contain the Hebrew date, the names of the two spouses and the place of marriage. This is followed by the vows in English. There are those officiants who would allow you to choose freely the wording that you like while others have specific wordings that they approve. Be sure you consult with them before ordering.
Commitment vows are written in a manner that makes them suitable for same-sex marriages. The majority are suitable for all marriages but don’t include gender-specific language, like “Bride” and “Groom.” Instead, it may say “Beloveds.” Their wording varies depending on the artist and, as such, you should read each text before making your choice. With so many gay marriages being celebrated, we are happy to offer the LGBT community a large selection of ketubah artwork.
Anniversary texts commemorate the years that married couples have been together. Our artists offer beautiful and meaningful texts that honor couples as they reflect on their past as well as plan their future together. This is one of the best gifts friends and family members can give to a couple as they mark their wedding anniversaries.
The Secular Humanistic
The Association of Humanistic Rabbis together with the Leadership conference of Secular and Humanistic Jews offer two texts: Humanist 1 has a full Hebrew translation and Humanist 2 is all English. We offer a Hebrew translation of Humanist 2 on our Studio Collection designs, as well, so just let us know and we will include the full Hebrew. These texts are available in the work of many artists and you can do a search by Text to find out who offers the Humanist texts. Other artists have secular style text which may be labeled as Humanist but is not associated with the organization stated above.
The rabbis of the Sephardic Jewish communities, which trace their origins back to Spain and the Mediterranean regions, normally have special requirements for ketubah texts. Most communities have their own preferences when it comes to the wording of the ketubah text. As such, it is always important to show your rabbi the texts offered by artists in order to determine which ones are acceptable. You can also order a custom text on your Ketubah if your rabbi has a specific text for your community that is not offered on the ketubah of your choice.
All Faith / English Vows
We are happy to offer texts that are non-denominational and suitable for couples of all faiths. There is no Hebrew nor are there references to Jewish tradition. They are beautiful vows expressing love and devotion for all betrothed couples.