(continued from first page)
needs, both emotional and material. It was also required that the ketubah be signed by two male witnesses, who are unrelated to either the groom or the bride. Sometimes, it was, and often still is, also signed by officiating clergy, such as rabbis and/or cantors, all of whom attest to having heard the groom's pledge to fulfill the terms of the contract; the couple may also add their signatures to signify their agreement with the contents. The signed ketubah is then read aloud at the wedding, after which the contract becomes the property of the bride. The language of the traditional ketubah is Aramaic, but nowadays, some couples request English translations, as well. Modern contracts can also be egalitarian and stipulate obligations for both the bride and the groom to one another, and be signed by both male and female witnesses.The custom of decorating ketubot (that is the plural form) is well known throughout history. Professional artists, both Jewish and non-Jewish, were often commissioned to provide decorations to embellish the words of the contract, which were usually written by a Jewish scribe. Since my ketubot are individually created for each couple; I ask both the bride and the groom to give me lists and pictures of what they would like to see included as the special decorative elements that render their ketubah "absolutely unique", and once I have their lists, I begin creating rough black and white pencil sketches that incorporate the ideas that they have given me; and when I decide upon a sketch that I feel is particularly successful, I do another small, more refined version. I also do a small section in color, and submit both sketches to the couple. Once these have been approved, and a deposit made, I contact the officiating clergy regarding their specific text requirements. When I receive a copy of the desired text, I begin my finished work by laying it out to fit to my design, and then render it by hand on archival watercolor paper using waterproof inks. In order to insure the accuracy of what I have written, I submit the text to several rabbis and Hebrew scholars to search for any errors. If any are found, they are immediately corrected, and only after this is done, I begin the rendering of the decorative artwork, which is painted using waterproof, colorfast, and lightfast liquid acrylics.When work is completed, details of delivery are arranged in a manner mutually agreed upon, with the balance of payment due upon delivery.