Why Do We Need a Ketubah?

If we are a non-religious interfaith couple, why do we need a Ketubah?

“I am not Jewish but my husband to be is.  He is not a practicing Jew, however.  A rabbi is performing the wedding to make his parents happy.  So with that in mind, why would a Ketubah be beneficial to us in our marriage?”

While some wouldn’t understand what I am about to say, it makes perfect sense and answers your question empirically.

A Jewish wedding will have several elements that are unique to a non-Jewish wedding.  These unique elements, I call, “Objects of Awareness.”  This is not unusual for anyone to understand, if they own a trinket, special box holding personal treasures or item that means a lot to them.  It reminds them of something wonderful, nostalgic and many times spiritual.  In most weddings today, universal objects of awareness are the wedding rings.  Within, they hold a unique energy that is meaningful to every couple.  The rings represent each of their fidelity to each other.  In a Jewish wedding there are other symbolic customs.  The Chuppah, symbolizes a safe and loving home.  The Blessing over the Wine is a invitation to bring Joy into the home.  Plus, every time this tradition is honored, more meaningful energy enters the cup and remains.

The Ketubah represents the couple’s special and unique relationship and their intentions for each other and recorded onto a document that is personalized and signed by them witnesses and the rabbi.  As a Ketubah Artist, I feel that it is very important to own a Ketubah that reflects the very essence of the couple’s intentions toward each other.  These sentiments don’t even need to be religious but relating to a level of commitment to each other and the family they intend to build.

Commercial Ketubah Artists, will make additions and changes to the text or image of the Ketubah but working directly with a couple can become an annoyance, therefore, they charge extra for some of the most important parts of the Ketubah.  To make several changes, personalizing, takes time away from an artist other responsibilities and therefor they will charge extra for that time.  I understand this at a business level, however, with a legal and important document such as your Ketubah, it is important to make it your own.  I don’t feel it is fair to penalize the couple for the custom touches that would make this artwork and contract, most meaningful.  But without either or both, Customization and Personalization of a Ketubah, there is no reason to have one.  It’s just a custom.  However, if you wish to have a single reminder containing both your intentions for each other and to own what will become the most valuable work of art that celebrates the two of you, my question is, why wouldn’t you or any couple want a Ketubah?

You can see a collection of customizable Ketubahs here.

Barry Tuchman