In a Jewish wedding, the signing of the ketubah is an important ritual. It takes place before the actual wedding, usually on the same day. The bridal couple, officiant, witnesses, and a few close family and friends gather in a room to witness the act.
The ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract that is validated before a wedding. The couple, a rabbi or cantor, and witnesses all participate in the signing of the ketubah.
The ketubah or marital contract has been an essential part of Jewish Weddings for thousands of years. There are mentions of the contract in the bible, specifically stipulating how much a groom’s family would have to pay the bride’s family upon a union. The earliest surviving ketubah is from 440 B.C.E and written in Aramaic.
The The Ketubah lists all the details of the wedding: the date, the name of the bride and groom, and more. It also outlines what the couple owes each other during their marriage. In traditional communities, it lays out what the groom is obligated to provide his bride and lists both financial and conjugal responsibilities. It also stipulates what happens in the case of a divorce or untimely death. In modern communities, the bride and groom determine what they will give each other, similar to vows. signing is all about business. The exact rules about what should be written in a ketubah and who should sign it vary depending on if the wedding is Orthodox or modern. In all instances, witnesses are required to read and sign the document.
The signed ketubah is usually displayed under the chuppah, or wedding canopy, during the Jewish wedding ceremony. In many ceremonies, especially at Orthodox weddings, the ketubah is read out loud for the entire community to hear. It is then handed from the groom to the bride who accepts the ketubah.
Many couples choose to display their ketubah in their home as a reminder not only of their wedding day but of their commitment to one another.