One of my clients, Jill, wrote something that made me laugh:
Your designs are not all “Chagall and primary colors and Judaica” art. That is not our style. So when I saw your photos, I thought, “Thanks heavens, someone with good design sense is making a ketubah!”.
Thank you Jill, I really appreciate hearing that. I work hard to instill a good sense of design in my ketubahs. I was a graphic designer and creative director for 15 years before starting my own business, so I am very proud of my design skills. When I started Modern Ketubah, my goal was to combine my love for design and typography with my love of nature photography. I believe that of all the art in your home, your ketubah needs to be designed well. The art needs to be balanced with the words. The text needs to be typeset carefully, and with sensitivity to the unique qualities of English and Hebrew. The ketubah needs to be printed with close attention to craft, and a full understanding of making archival art with paper and ink. The ketubah is more than something you just need to buy for your wedding — it is a part of your home, forever.
As a creative director, I worked for many companies, big and small. I even had the honor to develop the brand identity for one of the world’s most well-known companies, Yahoo!. But despite that, I have to say that it has been creating ketubahs that has given me the greatest and most fulfilling design challenge of my career.
If you are interested in my artwork, and would like to learn more about my influences and methods, check out these links. This month I was chosen to be the current Featured Artist on Area of Design, an organization that showcases established and emerging artists. I was also interviewed on Positive Focus, a nonprofit organization for “emerging photoartists” based in Brooklyn. These are both great sites, and it’s an honor to be among all of the wonderful artists that they have chosen before.
On this Rosh Hashanah, I wanted to take a moment to wish you all a happy new year! I hope the upcoming year is filled with happiness and fun.
For anyone who is orthodox, and is also in an interfaith relationship, I highly recommend the article “Orthodox Paradox” written by Noah Feldman for the New York Times Magazine this past weekend. He describes his love and connection to his community, and his sadness at their not being able to accept his choice for a wife. The Jewcy online magazine has an interesting Q&A follow-up with him. When asked why he was surprised that his yeshiva cropped him and his non-Jewish girlfriend out of a reunion photo, Feldman responded:
What is troubling about the view you describe—which I never sensed from my classmates—is its implication that somehow modern Orthodox people should be protected from my living my life as I choose…. People who are comfortable with their own life choices don’t get “offended” when others choose differently.
Here’s a wonderful email I got from Tara and Steven, about why they chose one of my ketubah designs for their wedding:
I did A LOT of research online only to find pieces that I found rather boring and mediocre (if not ugly!). I knew that we needed something a bit different to represent who we are. When I found your site, I was struck by the beauty of both your photographs and your words. Your ketubahs have a traditional element, which Steven and I love, yet there is something so unique about it. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was hard to decide which one we wanted, but something about the camellia flower and the words “this is my beloved, this is my friend” seemed perfect for our union.
There’s an interesting article in the Jewish Week, called The Other Kind Of Mixed Marriage. In it,
The fact is that Jewish life in America is so varied, and each person’s Jewish experience is so different, that it almost seems as if every Jewish marriage is an intermarriage.
I wholeheartedly agree. I believe that in some ways interfaith couples have it easier that same-faith couples because they know up front that they will have to discuss their religion and explain their traditions. While same-faith couples often assume that because they are both Jewish or both Christian, that they share a lot of the same beliefs, traditions, and attitudes. But this isn’t true. Everyone has a their own unique set of beliefs and priorities. People belong to different denominations, different regions of the country have different attitudes, and every family defines their faith in different, personal ways. Same-faith couples need to take a lesson from interfaith couples, and realize that getting married means they are combining two very different sets of beliefs. Marrying someone from a different religion forces you to reconnect with your own traditions, examine your long-held assumptions, and try to determine what is really important to you. Same-faith couples need to go through this same journey of discovery together.
Cora emailed me a couple weeks ago seeing if I had enough time to create their ketubah for their June wedding. When I said yes, she replied:
You just put a smile on my face. Yes, before I came across your Ketubah I was planning on getting the least expensive one and rolling it up never to look at it again. Then my Mother reminded me (as J-Mom’s always do), you always need to know where it is. So, in my last ditch attempt to find something that I could take pleasure in on my wall I did one more Google search and voila, I found you. We both love incredible photography. We love nature…. Thank you for creating something traditions that’s also unconventional.