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Custom Ketubah – Estelle and Daniel Jerusalem, Israel

Design and symbolism: This Ketubah was ordered for a wedding in Jerusalem, with very specific requests. The couple had thought deeply about the symbolism and meaning of their Ketubah and shared their thoughts and image examples with me so that I will get a clear idea of what they had in mind. Tradition, heritage and spirituality were very important for them in their Ketubah.

 

  • Trees and Green Leaves: The trees are a recurring theme in traditional Ketubot, representing the tree of life as well as a connection to roots, growth and the life cycle. In this specific case, the couple asked for the tress and leaves to have a light, lively color, and for there to be many green leaves representing growth and livelihood.

 

  • Doves: The couple requested to have doves in their Ketubah, representing peace and pureness. One dove is holding on to the 'Bet' – the first, larger and decorated letter in the text, and seems as though it flew in to bring in the first letter from the heavens.
  • White Tulips: On the bottom part of the Ketubah is a bouquet of white tulips, a symbol of love, elegance and grace and a reminder of the beauty of the wedding day itself.

 

Quotes, text and words: Framing the trees and the whole Ketubah is a quote written in calligraphy. This style of using calligraphic text to adorn a design is typical of many historic Ketubah and of Ketubah design tradition. Specifically, it is frequently found in Ketubot created in Muslim countries in past centuries and this calligraphic shape and style was inspired by a Persian Ketubah from Isfahan that was created in the 19th century. You can find this Persian Ketubah and additional inspirations in the historical worldwide Ketubah collection from the National Library of Israel. These quotes are frequently present at the beginning of traditional Moroccan Ketubot, and are taken from the book of Ruth and from Mishlei (Proverbs):

 

״ויהי ביתך כבית פרץ, אשר-ילדה תמר ליהודה--מן-הזרע, אשר ייתן יהוה לך, מן-הנערה, הזאת״ רות ד׳, יב

"And may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, with the seed that the Lord will give you from this maiden." Ruth 4, 12

״ימצא אשה מצא טוב ויפק רצון מה׳ ״ משלי יח׳, כב

"He who has found a wife has found good, and has obtained favor from the Lord." Proverbs 18, 22

 ״יתן ה׳ את האשה הבאה אל ביתך כרחל וכלאה אשר בנו שתיהן את בית ישראל ועשה חיל באפרתה וקרא שם בבית לחם״ רות ד׳, יא

"May the Lord make the woman who is entering your house like Rachel and like Leah, both of whom built up the house of Israel, and prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem."  Ruth 4, 11

 

In addition to these quotes, two traditional quotes appear in calligraphy above and below the image of Jerusalem. The first quote, above, is taken from Song of Songs (Song of Solomon), and reads:

״ מים רבים לא יוכלו לכבות את האהבה ונהרות לא ישטפוה״ שיר השירים ח׳, ז

"Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away." Song of Songs 8, 7

 

Finally, the quote bellow Jerusaelm is taken from the seventh blessing of Sheva Brachot (the seven blessings traditionally said under the Chuppah):

״קוֹל שָׂשׂוֹן וְקוֹל שִׂמְחָה, קוֹל חָתָן וְקוֹל כַּלָּה״

״...the sound of joy and the sound of celebration, the voice of a bridegroom and the voice of a bride...״

© All rights reserved to Nehama Grenimann Bauch 2016

E-Mail: nehamaketubah@gmail.com