The Modern Ketubah Blog

In this blog I discuss what goes into creating fine art wedding ketubah, as well as ideas about wedding ceremonies and traditions, and answer some of the questions and comments from the couples I've worked with.

new design option for Autumn Gold ketubah

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One of my customers emailed recently, wondering if my very popular Autumn Gold Ketubah (which is a vertical design) was also available as a horizontal version. They loved the imagery of the ketubah, but preferred a horizontal ketubah for their home. I thought this was a great idea so I decided to see if I could make it for them. Every ketubah I make is closely connected to the photograph they are based on — whether they are horizontal or vertical depends on the subject of the photograph, and how the text can interact with the artwork. After spending some time reworking the design, I was able to transform the Autumn Gold ketubah into a horizontal ketubah, that I think is just as beautiful as the original.

Autumn Gold Ketubah © Daniel Sroka

The original version of the Autumn Gold Ketubah

Autumn Gold Ketubah © Daniel Sroka

The new horizontal version of the Autumn Gold Ketubah

I am very happy how this turned out, and am pleased to be able to offer this ketubah in both designs. It was also wonderful to be able to help Iris and her fiancé find the perfect ketubah for their home.

Cherry-picking traditions for an interfaith wedding

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I recently read a post by the bride Diorable as she described how she was planning her interfaith wedding. She talked about how they were choosing the traditions they would have in her ceremony, to make it fit the personality and beliefs of her and her fiancé. As she described it: “This isn’t a sundown thing with a ketubah. We are absolutely cherry picking.”

I applaude Diorable’s creativity and drive to create a ceremony tailored to them. The whole point of the wedding is that it is a ceremony of two people coming together as one, and it therefore needs to reflect who those two people are.

Unity Candle and Ketubah at an Interfaith Wedding ©“Cherry-picking” traditions is a common way to construct an interfaith wedding ceremony. When my wife and I were planning our wedding, we also cherry-picked different aspects of our combined Jewish and Catholic traditions for our wedding. This let us honor our traditions, while defining our own combined values. We had two friends sing a modern version of the Seven Blessings. Another friend read an updating translation that I wrote of the famous Corinthians passage “Love is patient, love is kind”. We stood under a huppah as my cousin the priest and our rabbi both gave their blessings. We lit a unity candle, then stomped a glass. Some might find this kind of ceremony a little crazy or inauthentic, but we loved it — it fit us perfectly. It wasn’t a Jewish wedding, it wasn’t a Catholic wedding — it was our wedding.

And of course, even aspects of a ceremony that are considered “very traditional” can be modernized and updated to fit your personality. The ketubah is a perfect example. Many people might still assume that having a ketubah automatically makes a wedding very Jewish or very traditional (as Diorable described it “a sundown thing”). But not any longer. Most of the ketubahs I create are for interfaith and multicultural couples. They decided to add this tradition to their ceremony, but didn’t want it to feel overly “traditional”. So they made a ketubah that is modern, inclusive, and very personal.

In our wedding, our crazy combined ceremony worked to bring our two families together in a beautiful and special way. Each side could relate to part of the ceremony, and share the experience of something new. We explained the traditions throughout the ceremony, in simple terms, so that everyone could appreciate the parts they weren’t familiar with. We worked carefully with our rabbi to make sure the ceremony came together as a whole, and that no one felt left out, or confused. And in the end, our families loved it as much as we did. It was as much a celebration of our new marriage, as it was of our families and traditions that helped make us who we are.

Update 2010-03-01: On the blog Fifty Percenters, PrincessMax shared the details of the thoughtful wedding program she created for her interfaith wedding. It is a great example of how you can explain all of the elements of your ceremony to your family and guests, so that they all feel a part of the celebration.

our ketubah: this amazing piece of art

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I always love it when I hear from a bride and groom I made a ketubah for, and learn why they chose one of my designs. Beth and Jeremy, and interfaith and intercultural couple, just wrote me to tell me why the Horizon Ketubah was “perfect” for them:

We can’t thank you enough for making this amazing piece of art for us. When we began looking for a ketubah, we knew we wanted something different. We are an interfaith and intercultural couple and when we came across your website, we knew your designs were perfect for us. Not only did we fall in love with your photography, but we also felt deeply connected to your texts. We loved that many of your texts included beautiful language about honoring and learning about each other’s traditions. In fact, we love the text we chose so much that we are using some of it in our wedding vows. Thanks again for making this experience so special. We are so grateful that you do what you do!

Horizon Ketubah by Modern Ketubah

Beth and Jeremy chose the Horizon Ketubah

choosing a ketubah that is “simple, modern and clean”

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One of my customers, Joey, just shared this description of why she chose my ketubah for her wedding:

“I have to be honest, I am not a “traditional” girl and that is why I was very drawn to your ketubah. I am an interior designer and so the way something looks is obviously very important to me. I love the simple nature of your work… it was honestly exactly what I was looking for. Something simple, modern and clean.”

How to decribe the ketubah in your wedding program

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When you are planning an interfaith wedding, it’s a good idea to provide an explanation of the different traditions in your wedding program. This gives everyone the chance to understand the meanings behind the traditions you selected for your wedding. Plus, it makes both sides of the family feel welcome and included in the ceremony. One of my couples shared with me the text they used in their program:

The Ketubah is the Jewish marriage contract, outlining the responsibilities of the bride and the groom. The Ketubah confirms that Andrew and Joanna willingly accept each other and assume obligations to one another. One of the oldest elements of a Jewish wedding, the Ketubah dates back over two thousand years. Today, most Ketubot (plural form of Ketubah) are spiritual, not legal, covenants that the bride and groom make with one another. Prior to the wedding ceremony, Andrew, Joanna and the Rabbi signed the ketubah in the presence of two witnesses, family and friends.

running an eco-friendly ketubah business

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It is important for everyone to do their part to help preserve our environment. As a small business owner, I work hard to make sure that my business’s carbon footprint is as small as possible. Here’s some examples of how I run a green business:

  • My studio in based in my home. I only have to go upstairs to get to work. Since I have no commute, I don’t generate any extra carbon emissions.
  • My ketubah store is online and my ordering and proofing processes are completely digital. This ensures quality while minimizing paper waste.
  • I actively recycle any paper I do use, as well as all of my used ink cartridges.
  • I print my ketubahs individually for each customer, instead of printing them in bulk from a large printer company. This means I am not generating huge amounts of paper waste or consuming tons of excess energy.
  • I only print my ketubahs on the highest quality 100% cotton-rag paper. Unlike paper made from tree pulp, cotton is an easily renewable resource. I also only select paper that does not use any artificial brighteners or chemicals. These chemicals not only pollute the environment, they can harm the archival quality of the paper.

I also hope that my artwork, which celebrates the beauty of nature, helps encourage people to respect and protect our natural environment. If you have any questions about my green business policies, please let me know.

Introducing the Evergreen Ketubah and the Sun Daisy Ketubah

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I’d like to introduce to you two new ketubah designs I have created: the Evergreen Ketubah and the Sun Daisy Ketubah. Both of these modern ketubah designs are available in two sizes, and can be fully customized with any combination of my English and Hebrew texts and design options.

I created the Evergreen Ketubah from an abstract photograph I took of the needles on a pine branch. The soft green colors and patterns makes for a wonderfully modern, yet natural design, perfect for fall or winter weddings.

I created the Sun Daisy Ketubah from a macro photograph I took of a gerbera daisy. This photograph was one of my first experiments in macro floral photography, and is still one of my favorites. The petals of the flower gracefully open upwards, catching the light.

Sometimes, my best designs are directly inspired by my customers. Marissa and Robert were browsing my fine art photography website, and had fallen in love with this photograph. Marissa really wanted it for her ketubah: “I absolutely love it and those are actually going to be the colors of our wedding,” she told me. That was all the inspiration I needed! I was glad to be able to create a very special ketubah for her, and also have a new design I could offer everyone else.

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