What do we use to sign the ketubah?
It’s best to use an archival quality, acid-free, waterproof pen to sign your ketubah. These can be purchased & tested at most art supply or stationary stores.
The type of pen most recommended for ketubah signing is an archival pigment ink pen. These can be found in any art or framing store, or online. Here are 2 examples:
- Zig Milennium Pigment Pen (Size .05, Color Black)
- Sakura Pigment Pen (Size 02, Color Black)
A good quality ball-point pen will also work. It’s a good idea to always test your pen first on the bottom-most edge of the ketubah, in a area that will be hidden by framing or that can be trimmed before it is framed. The ink should not run, bleed or smudge easily.
Never use felt-tipped pen (such as a Sharpie) as it will bleed into the paper.
Who signs the ketubah?
There are usually five signature lines (for the groom, the bride, two witnesses, and a Rabbi or officiant) for Hebrew / English ketubahs. For Orthodox and Conservative texts there are generally two witness signature lines under the Aramaic text. If you would like know what signature lines are on the ketubah you have chosen, just ask us and we’ll confirm it for you.
A ketubah was a radical Jewish document in ancient times, giving the wife important legal protection. It was a legal document, neither beautiful nor romantic, and the traditional language of the ketubah has remained basically unchanged for centuries. In essence, the ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract.
In traditional Jewish wedding ceremonies the Groom signs the ketubahin a separate room, in the presence of witnesses and the Rabbi, prior to the start of the wedding. The bride does not sign it, because the ketubah belongs to her alone, according to Jewish law, as proof of her rights and the groom’s responsibilities.
Ketubot in Contemporary Times
Traditional ketubot do not necessarily reflect the realities of modern marriages or contemporary views on relationships. Many couples have found new ketubot, or have written their own ketubah text that is more egalitarian. Many ketubot now include parallel declarations of commitments madeby both bride and groom with a joint declaration of faithin G-d and a connection to the Jewish people. The ketubah can be away to remind the couple of their moral responsibilities to one other.
Today there are thousands of ketubot available from a huge pool of ketubah artists from around the world, as well as many sources of published ketubah texts. Most artists offer their ketubot with 4-20 text options. Couples have a vast array of choices to make in order to customize the ketubah text to reflect their particular values. A couple should always confer with their rabbi before deciding on which ketubah text to choose, and certainly before any artwork is ordereded.
Legalities of a Ketubah
Since ketubahs are considered a religious legal document, not all rabbis will accept all texts. Moreover, only Orthodox and Conservative texts are recognized in the State of Israel. Ketubahs come in different texts depending on the Jewish denomination i.e. Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed, etc. This is why when ordering ketubahs it is important to consult with your rabbi in advance.