About the Aramaic Text and the Lieberman Clause

The Aramaic portion of the Conservative text is essentially the same traditional Aramaic text used by the Orthodox movement plus the addition of the Lieberman Clause. The traditional Aramaic text (read a sample translation here) was developed centuries ago. It serves as a legal document and sets forth the traditional financial obligations of the husband to his wife, both during the marriage and upon death or divorce. As one of the earliest forms of a "pre-nuptial" agreement, one of its primary purposes is to protect the rights of the woman in the event of divorce.

Translation of the Traditional Aramaic ketubah text:

On the ____ day of the week, the ____ day of the month ____ in the year ____ since the creation of the world, in the city of ____, ____ son of _____ said to this maiden ____ daughter of ____, "Be my wife according to the laws of Moses and Israel, and I will cherish, honor, support and maintain you in accordance with the custom of Jewish husbands who cherish, honor, support and maintain their wives faithfully. And I here present you with the settlement of two hundred silver zuzim, which belongs to you, according to the law of Moses and Israel, and I will also give you your food, clothing and necessities, and live with you as husband and wife according to the universal custom." And the maiden _____ consented and became his wife. The trousseau that she brought to him from her father's house, in silver, gold, valuables, clothing, furniture and bedclothes, all this _______, said bridegroom, accepted in the sum of one hundred silver zuzim, and _____, the bridegroom, agreed to increase this amount from his own property with the sum of one hundred silver zuzim, making in all two hundred silver zuzim.

And thus said ____, the bridegroom: "The responsibility of this marriage contract, of this trousseau, and of this additional sum, I take upon myself and my heirs after me, so that they shall be paid from the best part of my property and possessions that I have beneath the whole heaven, that which I now possess or that which I may hereafter acquire. All my property, real and personal, even the shirt from my back, shall be mortgaged to secure the payment of this marriage contract, of this trousseau and the addition made to it, during my lifetime and after my death, from the present day and forever." _____, the bridegroom, has taken upon himself the responsibility of this marriage contract, of the trousseau and of the addition made to it, according to the restrictive usages of all marriage contracts and the adjoins to them made for the daughters of Israel, according to the institutions of our sages of blessed memory. It is not to be regarded as a mere forfeiture without consideration or as a mere formula of a document.

The Lieberman Clause is a passage added to the traditional Aramaic text based on the wording of Rabbi Saul Lieberman, a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary and considered by many to be a leading scholar of the 20th century. It attempts to create a legal remedy in the event one of the parties fails to cooperate in Jewish divorce proceedings. If the couple obtains a civil divorce, the clause requires the husband to give his wife a get (religious divorce) so both can remarry according to Jewish law. In its current form, the clause reads (loosely translated):

Translation of the Lieberman Clause:

"And the Groom (name) and the Bride (name and appellation) agreed that if one of them were to contemplate or seek the termination of their marriage or if one of them were to terminate it in civil court, then either may summon the other to appear before the Beit Din (Court) of the Rabbinical Assembly and of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America or its designate or successor, and that both of them will abide by the decisions of this Beit Din in order that both may be able to live according to the rule of Torah."

Our Conservative Ketubah Texts

We offer many ketubah texts including the Conservative Aramaic ketubah text with Lieberman clause. Since the Aramaic portion serves as the "legal" portion of the document, and given its traditional nature, most couples choose to pair it with a more modern, egalitarian English portion (we have 6 to choose from) that reflects their mutual promises and commitments or you can choose to have the Aramaic only.

• Download a PDF copy of the Conservative Aramaic text

 
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