Use your text, even in other languages (in addition to English, Hebrew, and Aramaic, I have also made ketubot in Spanish, French, and Chinese), on any ketubah. Mixing and matching is fine - i.e., Orthodox Aramaic text with your own English (or any other combination).
Custom texts and filling in names and dates are included in the ketubah price.
If you are planning on using copyrighted material from other websites, please make sure you have obtained the relevant permissions.
About Writing Your Own Ketubah
This sounds a lot easier than it is. Finding new ways to say that you love each other can be pretty difficult, but is well worth the effort. You may want to start with a text and cross out all the parts you don't like or reword the parts you do like. As you write, remember that originality is not necessarily the goal - a heartfelt and sincere statement will be more meaningful in the long run.
Some elements to consider including:
- a statement of friendship and commitment
- obligations to each other and to community
- promises to provide for children and their education
- a vision of your home together
- an agreement to behave ethically
- a commitment to Judaism and larger world.
Who do you want to sign?
The traditional answer is two adult Jewish men in good standing with your community. Unless you have chosen the Orthodox or Conservative ketubah text, however, you may choose who and how many witnesses you want to sign your ketubah. Do you want to sign it yourself? Do you want your rabbi to sign it? Do you want the witnesses’ signatures as part of the design or at the bottom like a standard contract?
The following are ketubot couples have written:
I. A Tree of Life Custom Ketubah
It is a Tree of Life to those who hold fast to it. Its ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.
On June 15, 1996, C.E., we witness that Jonathan Benjamin Freirich and Virginia Rose Reel said to each other in front of God and Everyone:
“Be my friend and companion and I will work for you, honor, support, and maintain you in accordance with the custom of Jewish Families. We will create peace in our home, balancing our values and traditions. We take the responsibility for this marriage contract and the preservation of our true friendship, the fruit of our individuality, for we know this to be the best and choicest of all our properties beneath the whole heaven anywhere that we now possess or ever may acquire.
"We will live together according to our custom, in friendship and in love, always sharing in joy, never abandoning hope or care. During my lifetime and after my death, from this day forever, our friendship will continue. The responsibility for this marriage contract has been taken on by us both. We will live together as is the way of the world. Should we have children, we agree to raise them in the custom of Judaism and the custom of our hearts. We agree to take responsibility for our words and for our actions, and will always provide for the needs of our future children. God forbid that we get divorced or that one of us dies, or that the roots of our mutual kindness wither. In all times, we agree to hold on to the spirit of our friendship with respect and caring. If we are unable to live together according to our custom, in friendship and in love, we will part as equals, taking an equal share in the abundance and burdens of our lives.
"We choose this tree to represent our friendship. There are seasons of change, but always, it remains. In the warmth of sunlight, as well as in the cold of frost, we love and are loved. With each leaf, our families and friends witness our growth. Our grandparents deepen our roots with their blessings."
All present witness this bond.
Grandmother of Bride__________________
Grandfather of Bride__________________
Grandmother of Bride__________________
Grandfather of Groom__________________
Grandmother of Groom __________________
Grandfather of Groom__________________
II. Bliss Custom Ketubah
This ketubah witnesses before God and family that on the beginning of the first day of the week, the 13th day of the month Tammuz, in the year 5760, corresponding to sunset, Saturday evening, on the 15th day of July 2000, David Green, son of Mary Ellen Radder and Gary Allen Green, & Amanda Blum, daughter of Marie Diane Henry and Jay Blum, duly conscious of the solemn obligation, entered the holy covenant of marriage. David said to his bride, Amanda: “By giving you this ring, I promise to keep you in my heart and to honor and protect you according to the laws and traditions of Judaism.” Amanda said to her groom, David: “You are my beloved, and I promise to give you all my love and devotion. I will treasure you and support you in all that you do.”
And they said to each other: “We will live together in a home filled with laughter, love, empathy, imagination, trust, and friendship; always sharing in joy; never abandoning hope or care. From this day to the end of time, we will support each other in times of need, cherish our differences, and give each other strength and courage. If we should have children, we agree to raise them in the traditions of Judaism and of our hearts. If, God forbid, we are ever unable to live together in friendship and in love, we agree to part as equals, taking an equal share in the abundance and burdens of our lives.
We are bound together by the bond of marriage.
III. Georgia O'Keefe's Black Petunia
The Promise that we make with this contract is deeper than we can describe with words. Its meaning emanates from the marrow of our bones, uniting our present love with the spirit of our ancestors and the promise of future generations. We joyfully undertake the challenge of creating a modern family that will stand the test of time. To accomplish this task, we pledge to face each day together, sharing our collective strengths and experiences. We bring to each other our mutual respect and compassion and hope to embody a kinship that celebrates both the individual and the family. To this end, we each vow to the other, our unending support and will urge each other to work harder, to dream bigger, and to take advantage of all that life has to offer. And so, this day, in the presence of all those we hold so dear, we proclaim our love for each other in both a proud shout and a precious whisper. Fate may have made us one but let this document stand as a testament to our belief in the power of two.
Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following after you, for where you go, I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I shall be buried. --Book of Ruth
IV. A Ketubah and Quaker Wedding Certificate
Love is an old root that creeps
through the meadows of sleep.
When the long shadows cast
Thin as a vagrant young vine,
it encircles and twines,
And it holds the heart fast
catches dreamers in the wildwood
with the stars in their eyes
And the moon in their tousled hair
But love is a light in the sky, and an unspoken lie,
And a half-whispered prayer. (from a song by David Carter)
On March 8, 2003, we witness that Paul Daniel Marcus and Lisa Amy Beyer pledged to each other in front of family and friends:
We promise to love and support each other and to live together in friendship and honesty. We promise to make each other laugh and to share our joy whenever possible. We agree to ask for help when we need it and to raise our children in a loving home. We join together as one family and will welcome all into our lives.
This is valid and binding and we certify and support this union:
lines for 23 signatures (everyone attending wedding plus the bride and the groom)