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Friday, October 07, 2005

The Ketubah

In Jewish tradition there is a marriage contract called a Ketubah that defines the relationship in terms of life-long commitment. The word Ketubah literally means, “that which is written.” It is a contract that a man makes with a woman, obligating the Chatan (the groom) to serve, cherish, sustain and support the Kallah (the bride) in truth. Traditionally, it is interesting to note that although the entire ketubah is written in Aramaic, the language of the Babylonian Jews, the date is written in Hebrew. In particular, the Hebrew word for month, Chodesh, is used. The word Chodesh is derived from the word Chadash, meaning “new,” and it therefore denotes renewal. Every wedding may be seen as the beginning of a new world.

Also interesting to note, the month of Elul is the Hebrew month of Ron and Jennifer's marriage. Elul, when spelled in Hebrew letters, is the acronym for the words, "I am to my beloved, as my beloved is to me" (Ani Ledodi V'dodi Li - also inscribed on Ron's wedding band). The month of Elul is a time of heightened spirituality as it is a time of introspection and preparation for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). The signing of the Ketubah took place before the ceremony, and was attended by immediate family. Dan Goldman and Richard Martinoff acted as witnesses of the acceptance of the terms by the bride and groom by signing the ketubah. The Ketubah itself, entitled Song of Songs II was created by the artist Howard Fox. As its name suggests, this Ketubah is framed by beautiful verses from King Solomon's Song of Songs. Its richly colored outer border, reminiscent of a Persian tapestry, is complemented by a lighter inner border featuring delicately illustrated flora, fauna and musical instruments.


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