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The Right Ketubah

Okay, so I totally wimped out yesterday.  I think I was afraid to search for a “hip” kettubah because I feared that if I found one, and nobody else thought it was “hip,” I’d be branded as totally “unhip” forever.  But then a friend called me on my  bullshit, and so I spent a few hours last night hunting for the coolest Ketubah around. 

Guess what?  I actually found some things…. that don't look like synagogue windows.

These Ketubot by Jonathan Blum are really really different!  They’re essentially wooden frames, painted with YOUR likeness, and then the artist arranges for the parchment itself with a Sofer.  They have a kind of folk-art feel to them. I’ve never seen anything like ‘em!

Another idea, as you hunt for the perfect Ketubah, is to sample a Jewish cultural tradition beyond your own.  It’s nice that we have Jewish art from all kinds of countries, a built in multi-culturalism from our diaspora.  I like this Persian design by Simcha Back.

If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll find a few examples of Stephanie Caplan’s Rothko  Ketubot.  She has some other interesting stuff too, but I think these are great!

 If you really have money to spend, think about getting something special.  For a pretty penny you can have one of these made for you by Elsa Wachs.  Hand-embroidered on vintage fabrics.  Wow!


These papercut Ketubot  (designs by Archie Granot) are amazing. And anyone who doesn’t think so should try cutting paper sometime.  I’m not certain the effect comes through fully online, but these are pretty complex works of art. 

In Nishima Kaplan’s gallery of designs, I found a lot of different kinds of things beyond the stained glass window style.  Here’s  
one that looks like Klimts,“The Kiss”.  And Michelle Rummel uses similar Klimt-y inspiration.  I suppose where weddings are concerned, Klimt is to painting what Yehuda Amichai’s is to poetry.  But there’s a reason things get to be trendy…

These Ketubot are very plain, but they have a clean feel to them (you could never accuse them of looking like stained glass from the seventies), and the sofer(et) behind them sounds very very neat (she invented Tefillin Barbie!).

And last, but not least…

The Design Lab offers these Ketubot, by
Gad Almaliah.  I don’t know if they’re hip, but they appeal to me.  Plainer and pretty traditional, some with embossed metal around the text.  This one looks like a page of Talmud, and it rocks.  I don’t know… I kind of feel like… if you’re going to hit some tradition, hit it hard.   

So, although I could have looked at these things all night, that’s the word on “hip” Ketubot (for now).  But if you ever are really hunting for something different, backchannel me, and I'll see what I can do to help you search.

One last note… in my quest for a cool Ketubah, I stumbled upon this site.  It’s a blog where some folks collaborated on a Ketubah.  And I wanted to add that I think this is awesome.   I don't love the design, but I do admire the idea. 

For what it’s worth, if I weren’t married yet, I think I might try making my own, or asking friends to collaborate on something…  Or maybe stealing Jonathan Blum's idea, and making a frame, and then putting a plain Ketubah in the frame.  Or asking an artist who doesn't usually make Ketubot to build a one-of-a-kind frame for me.


I think it’d be a neat thing to surprise my husband with.  He loves old maps, and music and as I’ve been writing this post, I keep imagining the Ketubah frame I could make out of  an old musty map and faded sheet music…

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