Personalizing Your Orthodox or Conservative Ketubah Text

Although there are many options as to how your text can be completed, the way you list information on your order form is EXACTLY how it will appear in your ketubah.

For example, if you list your first name as a nickname (such as "Larry" instead of "Lawrence"), that is what we will print. We strongly suggest using proper names.

We will, of course, furnish you with a proof of your text for final approval before we print your ketubah.

English Names:

  • We need your given names and your parents' names. The bride will always use her maiden name or other current name. (She does not adopt the groom's name for purposes of the ketubah.) In English, for example, one party’s name might read something like "Miriam Alicia Bernstein, daughter of Rebecca and Isaac."

  • We do not include grandparents' names because it gets too wordy.

There are many small variations.

1. Middle Names: The decision of whether or not to use either of your middle names is yours.

2. Parents' Names: With regard to your parents' names, you may choose not to use them at all. If you wish to name your parents, please provide only their first names. This eliminates confusion when parents are divorced, the mother is using her maiden name as her middle name, etc. It also makes the texts flow more nicely.

3. Also, if you are using parents' names, please note: In the Hebrew portion of your text, the father's name will appear before the mother's name. This practice is traditional. In the English portion of the text, the proper order is mother's name before father's name.

Hebrew Names:

  • Generally, you should provide your given Hebrew names (first and middle, if any) and those of your father (again, first and middle). In most Orthodox ketubot, only the father’s name is used. Please check with your officiant to see if he or she will allow you to use mothers' names as well. Also, last names are not used in the Aramaic portion of the text. (The exception: Israeli couples often ask to have their last names in Hebrew.)

Using our example of Miriam from the section above, and assuming Miriam's given Hebrew name is "Miryam” (no middle name), her name would read something like "Miryam bat Yitzchak." (The term "bat" means "daughter of." We use "bar" for "son of.")

  • If you know the spelling of your Hebrew name, please enter it into our Hebrew keyboard on the ketubah order form, and we will spell it EXACTLY the way it is entered.

  • If you do not know the spelling of your Hebrew name, just spell it out in English letters, and we will transliterate* it back into Hebrew characters using standard spellings, where possible. You will have an opportunity to review these spellings with your officiant when you receive your proof of the personalized text.

  • If either of your fathers is a Cohain or Levite, this will be reflected by their names in the Aramaic portion of the text. (You should indicate this using the check boxes on the order form.) Moreover, if the bride’s father is deceased, this will be indicated in the Aramaic portion of the ketubah text. (For example, “the trousseau that she brought to him from her father's house” would read “from the house of her family,” if the bride’s father is deceased). The Aramaic text also requires the bride’s name to include references to her being a virgin, widowed, divorced or converted.
  • If one or both of your parents are deceased, then we will indicate this in the Hebrew/Aramaic portion of the text by preceding his or her name with the abbreviation for the Hebrew words "zikron l’baruch," which means "of blessed memory."

Ceremony Date and Location:

We also ask for information regarding the date and location of your wedding ceremony so we can include this information in the ketubah text.

  • Both the Gregorian and the Hebrew dates will be reflected. (We can determine the Hebrew date for you.) Please remember that, according to the Hebrew calendar, days run from sunset to sunset. Once you pass sunset on a given Gregorian calendar day, you are actually on the next Hebrew day. For that reason, we ask you whether your wedding ceremony will take place before or after sunset. If it is taking place before sunset, the Gregorian date will correspond to the Hebrew date, as stated in a Hebrew calendar. If it is taking place after sunset, the Hebrew date on your ketubah will be the day corresponding to the day after the given Gregorian calendar date.
  • We also need to know the location of your ceremony. This will be in the English portion of the text and will be transliterated into the Aramaic portion. We must have the name of the city where the ceremony is taking place. (Or if the ceremony is not taking place inside city limits then you should indicate the nearest city). A county name is not sufficient.

Additional Information You Need to Provide for Orthodox and Conservative Ketubah Texts

Bride's Status:
We will need to know if this is the bride's first marriage, if she has been divorced or widowed, and if she has converted. When in doubt, consult your officiant.

Father's Tribe:
We will need to know if either father is Cohain, Levite or Israelite. (It will be one of these, unless the bride or groom is converted. Check with your officiant if you are not sure.)

Use of Mothers' Hebrew Names:

 

  • In Orthodox ketubah texts, the mothers' Hebrew names are almost never used.
  • In Conservative ketubah texts, they are allowed the majority of the time, but you should consult your officiant.

Kaninah:
In Orthodox texts, the officiant should tell you whether or not the "regal"– the descending part of the letter in the "koof"– in the word "v'kaninah" should be filled in or left out.

Download:

Ketubah Personalization Form (Orthodox and Conservative version)

See also:

Ketubah Texts - About Orthodox Texts
Ketubah Texts - About Conservative Texts

 

 
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