Friday, November 16, 2012

Our Interfaith Ketubah

The Ketubah, as I explained previously, is a Jewish prenuptial agreement. You can read the translation of the traditional text here. The traditional Ketubah was not right for us... Dan is Catholic, a religion which expressly prohibits divorce. And having a wall of Hebrew or Aramaic text, which nobody present can really understand, seems odd. But I still wanted a ketubah-like document to include the Jewish tradition in our wedding. I scoured the internet for "unique" or "interfaith" ketubahs. 

I was really hoping for a picture that was either abstract or space-related, but I couldn't find any that fit my other specifications. Though we were not going to do a block of Hebrew text, I wanted a bit of Hebrew that would make it more like a ketubah. This was extremely rare, in my searches, and more rare was that I could actually come up with my own Hebrew verse, which I ended up doing (I didn't find any that offered a Hebrew verse I liked as much).

Our verse is from Ruth (1:16 or 1:17 depending on your bible version):
And Ruth said, "Do not entreat me to leave you, to return from following you, for wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God. (Source)
Ruth is an interesting character. She was not Jewish but married a Jewish man. He died, but she continues to stick by her Jewish mother-in-law (who she is speaking to in the quote), eventually marrying a different Jewish man and becomes the grandmother of King David. Jews believe that the messiah will be a descendant of David, and therefore also of Ruth. Though she speaks these words to her mother-in-law, I think they are very true for our marriage.

Dan and I often discussed that we believe we follow the same God. Different names, different traditions, but ultimately the same G-d. When it says "Your God, my God" it doesn't mean to me that one of us has to give up our beliefs, but that our beliefs are ultimately more the same than different. Our Ketubah also makes a promise: Wherever you go, I will go. It promises we will stick together, us against the world. 

As an interfaith couple, we know it won't be easy. To come together from different faiths and form a unified family will be tough. We both will, as experienced here, encounter people in both our faiths who seek to tear us down or make it more difficult. But we're making a one way trip, we're joining together forever, in spite of the downsides.

After months of searching, I ordered our Ketubah from this website: I contacted Modern Ketubah and the designer/owner contacted me right back. We worked out the custom poetic verse and Hebrew translation by email before I did the online order form. It arrived about three weeks after I placed my order. Let me tell you, it is even more beautiful in person than it looked on the website, and far prettier than it looks in my photo here.

Our ketubah uses the Interfaith 3 text here, in the English drop down menu. It was by far the best interfaith text I came across in my searches, and I didn't need to tweak it at all to say what I wanted to say. My favorite part:
We will create a home built on the foundations of our traditions, and nurtured by the values of our families. We willingly enter into this covenant of companionship and love: from this day forward, we are as one.
Daniel, the guy who runs Modern Ketubah, was awesome. He responded to email super-quick and did an excellent job making our ketubah. The designs he has on his site are pretty neat too... a unique perspective on flowers and nature, to go along with his unique perspective on the ketubah. Dan and I chose the Falling Leaf. I liked it, but sent the link of all of them to Dan without telling him my picks. It was his first choice too. Easy!

In our ceremony, we will do the exchange of rings and vows. Then we will have the ketubah text read out loud. Dan and I will sign it, along with 2 witnesses, as is the Jewish tradition.  I'm just sorry I have to wait 3 months to hang it in the house, I am ready to show it off now!

1 comment:

  1. The story of Ruth and Naomi is one of my very favorites. There's really nothing else quite like it in the oeuvre. One could hardly do better for expressions of devotion. You've put together a beautiful Ketubah.