What is a Modern or Contemporary Ketubah?

In what ways is a modern or contemporary Ketubah different than a traditional Ketubah?

We think they should be unique in either one or two ways, depending on how traditional you are.

First, the design: traditional Ketubot are designed beautifully–but not with a modern sensibility in mind. They often have great imagery, but imagery more drawn from the aesthetic tastes of our grandparents, not from us.

Second, the wording. Traditional Ketubot use ancient wording that assumes various roles about currencies, dowries, and other traditions no longer much followed. Do you want to keep the traditional wording, or update it?

We’ve known very happy couples that have done either. Some people like the vestige of the contract our ancestors abode by. Some people want to take the contract very seriously, so they want to update the wording to better reflect our modern currencies and values.

Some couples write their own; some couples use the one their Rabbi gives them; some couples find one that is suited towards their needs, desires, and passions.

In other articles on this site, we’ll address the question of: how seriously should you take the legal contract of the Ketubah? That’s for another day. But for today, our important lesson to remember is, the Ketubah is a powerful tradition and, like all traditions, we must accept it with care and with great responsibility. As Spiderman said: “with great responsibility, comes great power!”. This is one contract that you really don’t want to break!

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