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Who can sign our Ketubah? (i.e. Want Grandpa to sign? Add a line!)

Dan and Tori's Nantucket wedding was absolutely stunning. Except for one essential aspect: Dan's maternal grandfather could not make the trip from his home in Florida to celebrate in person with the couple.

So, as the couple offered the vows to one another, their Grandpa witnessed the ceremony on Facetime. While Dan and Tori had two close friends sign their Ketubah (wedding contract), the thought of having Dan's grandparents sign the Ketubah felt so meaningful and a way to connect the generations of their family, framed forever as a sacred memory. So we asked the Ketubah artist to add lines so Dan's Grandma and Grandpa could sign. When they sent me a photo many months later of Dan's Grandpa signing the delicate Ketubah at his home in Florida, their beautiful wedding contract was finally complete.

What is a Ketubah and who can sign it? It depends on who you ask!

First, the Ketubah (wedding contract) is one of the oldest texts in Jewish tradition, dating as far back as the 1st century CE when the text was codified in the Talmud. At that time, it was written in the vernacular language of Aramaic. It was a radical document in its time - as it offered protections to women who, in that time, had their status defined by being a daughter or a wife. It included financial obligations a husband would make to his wife, including food, money and sex. It also provided financial support in the case of divorce.

The Ketubah was written in the vernacular Aramaic at the time to make sure the beloveds understood what it said. In that spirit, today, Ketubot are often written in Modern Hebrew and English; some couples include other language important to their backgrounds - like Farsi or Spanish.

So who can sign it? If you have a rabbi or cantor officiating your wedding, check with them. If you have a loved one officiating, think together about your decision.

Traditionally, an Orthodox Ketubah is signed by two Shabbat observant men who were not related to the couple. Most Modern JewISH Couples choose dear friends who are committed to supporting them in their marriage. When possible, I ask couples to have at least 2 Jewish signatures - but invite that my signature can count as one of them. And couples are always invited to add more signatory lines to honor loved ones. And that's why Dan and Tori added lines so that Dan's grandparents could sign the Ketubah. They couldn't think of anything more meaningful than honoring their legacy in this way.

Stay tuned for how to choose a Ketubah text - but we high recommend the following Ketubah artists: Beka Wilk at Foreverie Paper, Adriana Saipe at Ink with Intent, and Rachelle Tchiprout at the Delicate Brush.

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