I want to use the image on my ketubah. Can I reproduce the ketubah on cards and personal stationary?
What is a Ketubah?
A ketubah (also spelled: ketubbah, ketuba, ketubba, katuba; plural isketubot) is a Jewish marriage contract. It is a traditional part of the Jewish marriage ceremony. In its original form it is a prenuptial agreement, outlining the responsibilities of the groom to his bride, to protect her in case of divorce or widowhood.
You might wonder why this legal document came to be a work of visual art! Judaism has a precept known as hiddur mitzvah (lit: “beautification of the commandment”), which states that if an object is required for ritual purposes, it should be made as beautiful as possible–hence the custom of highly illuminated ketubot. A decorated ketubah, with images, motifs and colors that represent the bride and groom’s personal style and symbolizes their relationship, is one of the few parts of the wedding that actually endures beyond the wedding day. Whether it is a unique piece of commissioned fine art, or a print, a ketubah is an instant heirloom.
When the ketubah was first developed around the end of the first century, C.E., it was written in Aramaic, the spoken language of the time, so that all parties would understand the contract. This same Aramaic text is still in use today by traditional Jews. Though a great advance for its time, many couples today prefer a more egalitarian ketubah, expressing their mutual commitments to one another. Ketubahworks offers a range of texts for couples to choose from, from the traditional Aramaic, to modern texts which I wrote myself for egalitarian, interfaith, and same sex couples, plus an anniversary text. Whatever your beliefs and practices, you can choose a ketubah with a design and text combination that fits your needs.
How do I order a ketubah?
You can order your ketubah right online! Just click to the ketubah design you’d like, make the selections you want, and click the Add to Cart button to place your order. You’ll be led to a payment page, where you can pay with a credit card or bank payment.
After you complete your order, you’ll be directed to a page with a questionnaire to collect your personalization information. If you are ordering your ketubah personalized (“filled in” with your names, wedding date and location), just type in the answers to all questions and click the Submit button. I’ll use the information you provide to create your proof.
If you prefer, you can call me and place your order over the phone (650-938-3939 or 1-866-KETUBOT).
Please allow at least 3-8 weeks for your ketubah to arrive. (If you are placing your order 4 weeks or less before your wedding, and the ketubah is shipping outside the state of California, you will need to pay for 2-day air shipping to ensure timely arrival.)
What if I don’t feel comfortable ordering online?
All credit card orders are processed by PayPal, one of the web’s safest and most respected payment services. Whether you order online, or phone me with your info, it will be processed the same way, and your credit card info is probably safer than it is at your local restaurant. However, if you would prefer to pay with a check, just send me an email to make special arrangements.
My wedding’s coming up really soon. Do I still have time to order one of your ketubot?
I can almost always fill rush orders, but you do need to confirm before you order. Send an email or call (650-938-3939 or 1-866-KETUBOT). Be aware that if you require your ketubah in under 3 weeks and want it personalized, it will be subject to a rush fee, plus rush shipping charges.
Do I need to pay sales tax on top of the listed price of the ketubah?
Not if your shipping address is outside the state of California. For orders that ship within the state of California I am required by law to collect California sales tax.
Can I order with a credit card?
Yes! I can accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. You can order with a credit card right online. I can also accept credit card or bank payments directly via PayPal, and personal checks and money orders for US funds.
Which text should I choose for my ketubah?
Always check with your rabbi which text s/he will accept. Each movement within Judaism is very specific about which text is required, and if a different text is used your rabbi may reject your ketubah. Generally, if your rabbi is Orthodox, he will require the traditional Aramaic, Orthodox text. A rabbi affiliated with the Conservative movement will almost always require the Conservative text (which is the Orthodox text, plus a 20th Century clause called the Lieberman Clause).
In addition, be sure you show your rabbi a picture of the ketubah you’re considering (you can send them to my website). Most Orthodox rabbis (and some rabbis of other affiliations) have very rigid requirements about the design and layout, in addition to the wording!
I have encountered all kinds of strange requirements and prohibitions in my many years of making ketubot. Take my word for it: the only way to be sure if your rabbi will accept your ketubah at the wedding is to check first.
What is Personalization?
Personalization means filling in the blank spaces in the ketubah text with your personal details. If you order your ketubah without personalization, it will arrive on your doorstep with blank spaces for your names, the wedding date, the wedding location, and on Orthodox and Conservative texts additional information as well, and you will need to handle filling in those spaces yourself.
If you order Personalization, I will fill in the blanks seamlessly, using my custom fonts, digitized from my hand-calligraphy.
How long does Personalization take?
Turnaround time varies depending on my schedule and workload, and on your wedding date, but typically ranges between 2 and 8 weeks. For the most timely delivery, and to avoid rush charges and the need for air shipping, please order as soon as possible. The faster I receive your information, the faster I can get your ketubah to you!
Please also keep in mind that, as a one-person shop, I prioritize orders according to wedding or travel date first, and order date second. An order for this Sunday that comes in on the same day as an order for 3 months from now will get shipped first (though it will also incur some pretty steep rush charges. ;))
Note that rush charges apply if I do not have your full order and complete Personalization information, along with your answers to any questions I have, fewer than 3 weeks before you need your ketubah.
How do I submit my personalization info?
After you have placed your order and gone through the check-out process, you’ll automatically be redirected to a page with a special questionnaire where you can enter the information I’ll need to create your proof. The link to this questionnaire will also be emailed to you.
The form will ask you for Hebrew names for the wedding couple and both of their parents, but note that you do not need to know Hebrew to submit your Hebrew names! It’s fine to type the name phonetically (ie, “Moshe”), or to use the English version of the name (ie, “Moses”).
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
I see you offer blank ketubot, and ketubot with custom texts. What does that mean?
All of my ketubot (with the exception of the lithograph version of Illuminated Letters Ketubah) can be ordered “blank,” which means just the decoration is printed on the ketubah. No text is printed at all, so any text can be added by hand. Or I can add a text of your choice in type for an additional charge (for pricing, see the info page for the ketubah design you like).
If you want calligraphy (hand-lettering) rather than type, expect to pay quite a bit more. I no longer have time to do the calligraphy myself, but I work with some other wonderful calligraphers, or you can find your own, or you could even write the text in yourself.
I’m Jewish, but my partner is not. How should our names be written on the ketubah?
Most interfaith couples have questions about how to handle their names on the ketubah. I can write your names however you’d like, as long as your rabbi approves. Most people use their full names English. In the Hebrew there are several options. The standard formula is:
“[Hebrew name] son/daughter of [Father’s Hebrew name] and [Mother’s Hebrew name]”
(Orthodox ketubot usually don’t include the mother’s name.)
…but of course not everyone has a Hebrew name, even if they’re Jewish!
When one of the couple doesn’t have a Hebrew name, the most common way to write the names in the Hebrew text is:
Avram son of Moshe and Shoshana and Erin daughter of John and Laura (transliterated/translated)
Some people choose instead to have me write their names this way:
Avram son of Moshe and Shoshana and Erin Jane Smith
Again, be sure to get your rabbi’s approval. Your rabbi can also help you with the Hebrew spelling.
Um… neither of us is Jewish, but we love the idea of a ketubah! Can we get one?
Certainly! An illuminated marriage document is a beautiful tradition that anyone can enjoy. Every Ketubahworks ketubah print is available without printed text, and can be customized with your vows, or any other words you wish. I can include as many signature lines as you wish, and you can use one of her customized ketubah prints as the basis for a Quaker wedding certificate, which everyone at the wedding signs as witnesses to your marriage.
I want to use the image on my ketubah. Can I reproduce the ketubah on cards or on personal stationery?
In order to reproduce the any of the images on this website, you must obtain express written permission from me. Without permission, such a use is a direct infringement of copyright.
I now have a range of invitations and other stationery items that coordinate with my ketubot! Click here for more info. Several design options are available, and custom design is also possible (depending on my schedule availability). Call 650-938-3939 or 1-866-KETUBOT or email for a quote.
How will the ketubah arrive?
Unless you order the Wedding Ready upgrade, your ketubah will come wrapped in acid-free tissue, and rolled in a sturdy 3″ diameter tube. See below for how the ketubah should be handled on arrival.
How should the ketubah be handled on arrival?
Recommended procedure for preparing your ketubah for your wedding:
Buy two sheets of acid-free or pH foam core or neutral mat board at a framer or art materials store. Cut to a size 1″ or more larger than the ketubah (height + width).
Lay the two boards flat side to side and tape them together along one edge. You should tape them along the inside and the reverse of that edge to form a binding or hard bookcover.
Place the ketubah in this portfolio, and weight it down with books. It will flatten out over a few of days.
You can use this portfolio to transport your ketubah to the wedding. Use a couple small pieces of white artist tape to temporarily tack the back of the ketubah to the portfolio to keep it from shifting.
How is the ketubah used at the wedding?
The ketubah is signed in a separate ceremony before the huppah ceremony, and read by the rabbi as part of the huppah ceremony. Be sure to put a piece of scratch paper under your hand while signing the ketubah, to avoid getting sweat or skin oils on it.
You may wish to appoint a friend or family member to pass the ketubah to the rabbi and later to receive it from the rabbi and look after it. The ketubah is one of the central elements to the main ceremony and is often held up for everyone to see. Most couples like to display the ketubah after the ceremony at their reception.
How should we display the ketubah at our wedding and reception?
If you order the Wedding Ready upgrade, you’ll be all set to go:
With the upgrade the ketubah will be shipped flat, encased with a sturdy, archival foam core backing board in a crystal clear envelope, ready for temporary display at the wedding. Also included is an archival signing pen, so your signatures will last as long as the ketubah. There’s no need to flatten the ketubah out and it’s easy to remove the ketubah from the envelope for signing, and then slip it back into the envelope for reading during the ceremony, and safe display afterwards at the reception. You won’t have to worry about it getting damaged in handling, or somebody spilling a drink on it by accident.
I also offer a deluxe Wedding Ready upgrade, which includes all of the above, plus professionally mounting and matting with a matching white window mat.
For a DIY option, here’s what I recommend:
To protect the ketubah during the wedding and reception, buy a sheet of clear Mylar and a sheet of acid-free foam core or mat board, both larger than the ketubah. Tape the ketubah down to the foam-core with small pieces of white artist tape, then tape the Mylar over the board, on top of the ketubah. This will offer protection from moisture, drool, champagne, etc. For a more attractive finish you can have a window mat cut to fit over the mylar.
For even greater protection, you can make a temporary frame very easily: Buy a sheet of acid-free foam-core from an art store or framer, and a sheet of 1/16″ or 3/32″ plexiglass from a plastics store or hardware store. Have these cut to the same size, an inch or more larger than the ketubah (height + width). Tape the ketubah down to the foam-core with small pieces of white artist tape, place the (clean, dry) plexiglass on top, and clip the whole package together with 6 or 8 binder clips from a stationery store. Optional: for an elegant presentation, have a window mat cut to place over the ketubah.
This assembly can easily be taken apart for the ketubah signing, but will keep the ketubah well protected during the ceremony and reception.
How should the ketubah be framed?
I recommend finding a reputable professional framer who is well-acquainted with archival framing techniques. Make sure that no pressure-sensitive adhesive touches the ketubah, and that no acidic materials are used in the framing package. I also recommend opting for UV-protective glazing.
Displaying Your Ketubah
The most important things to keep in mind when considering where to hang your ketubah are light and humidity.
Light: Both original artwork, and museum quality prints can be subject to fading or color shift when exposed to light, especially direct sunlight. The best protection from this occurring is to frame the piece behind ultra-violet shielding glass or plexiglass (talk to your framer about your options), and hang it away from direct sunlight.
Humidity: Paper absorbs moisture in the air, and will expand or contract depending on the relative humidity. This can cause warpage or buckling, especially if the piece is pressed tightly in the frame (a no-no!). Try to hang your ketubah in a space in your home where the humidity is most constant:
- Away from exterior walls, which tend to contain more moisture than interior walls and are subject to greater fluctuations in temperature
- Away from fireplaces, heating ducts, stoves, bathrooms, etc.
Ongoing Care of Your Ketubah
When dusting or cleaning, NEVER spray cleaner directly onto the glazing or frame, as moisture could seep inside the frame and cause permanent damage over time. Instead, spray cleaner onto a cloth. Dust regularly, and check periodically for insects and mold.
Enjoy your ketubah! Mazel tov!
I have just a few more questions that aren’t answered here…
I would be happy to speak with you! Just email or call 650-938-3939 or 1-866-KETUBOT.