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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Observance, Marriage, Women in Judaism (4/12)
Section - Question 8.20: Weddings: What is a Ketubah?

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                                  Answer:
   
   The ketubah is a marrage contract between the husband and wife. It may
   be printed; more often, it is hand written in beautiful calligraphy
   and illuminated by a sofer, or scribe. Much of the traditional Aramaic
   text is over 2,000 years old, and the present form was fixed in the
   eighth or ninth century. The ketubah formalizes the groom's commitment
   to protect and care for the bride. The ketubah has two signatures from
   close friends or respected teachers as formal witnesses to his
   commitment.
   
   Traditionally, a ketubah is a legal lien on the husband's property
   which he gives his wife-to-be in the case of his death or their
   divorce, to ensure her maintenance and well-being. There are some
   options that a woman can negotiate. In traditional Judaism, the
   ketubah is signed by the man, read under the chupah, and given
   immediately to the woman. The ketubah belongs to the woman.
   
   In the liberal movements, the text of the Ketubah has been modified to
   be more egalitarian, and provide equal protection for both husband and
   wife. Some Ketubahs also include language to address the issue of
   husbands that refuse to provide a get, or bill of divorce, when
   requested by the wife.
   
   There is another way to view the Ketubah: think of it as the first
   prenuptual contract!

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Observance, Marriage, Women in Judaism (4/12)
Previous Document: Question 8.19: Weddings: Why is the glass broken at Jewish weddings?
Next Document: Question 08-21 : Weddings: What are the "Seven Blessings"?

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