Customized Ketubah

 Commission a Ketubah (Jewish Wedding Contract)

Many people choose to commission an original Ketubah – a Jewish wedding contract. An illuminated Ketubah can be an expression of the beauty of the marriage. Often, a Ketubah is supplied by the Rabbi at a wedding, as a printed form, signed and tucked away into the drawer along with the secular marriage certificate. In more recent years, the age old tradition of illuminating the Ketubah has been revived. It can be beautifully decorated with flowers, borders, symbols and even gold illumination. Its decorative purpose is to enhance and reflect the joy of the bride and groom and to grace their home just as their love graces their lives.

k_sketchesA Ketubah can be ordered as a cherished gift for the bride and groom, or commissioned together by the couple themselves. It can also be ordered as a celebration of a special wedding anniversary.

If you are planning a Ketubah, the process would begin with our meeting by phone or in person. We will discuss ideas, places, dreams and other things that are important to the couple. We talk about colors, shapes and images, as well as quotes, and elements that are meaningful. From these thoughts and from sketches I make as we talk, the basic layout, or design begins to unfold. Together, we will come up with a plan for the Ketubah you truly want.

We will also discuss text options – such as the version of the text being used, and whether you prefer Hebrew only, or English as well. Shape of the text as well as the number of signatures needed is also important.
After we have spoken, I will come up with a rough sketch or two for approval. We will use these sketches to work towards creating the exact piece you are hoping for to reflect the marriage.

I also work with photographs that people have supplied – places that are significant, personal items of Judaica, family heirlooms – which can be incorporated into the design of the Ketubah to make it even more individualized and unique to the couple.

After the rough sketch is approved, I sharpen the image using colored pencils within a tightened line drawing. At this point I would need all information related to filling in the text. I have forms that can be used to supply all necessary information depending on which text is chosen: traditional Orthodox/Aramaic; Conservative with added Lieberman Clause; or Reform/Egalitarian.  I have worked with many rabbis and am very careful to ensure there will be no mistakes.
ketubahs julie staller pentelnikFrom that tightened drawing, the final art will begin. I start with the text and build around it. Each piece is created on acid free illustration board and painted with brilliantly colored, lightfast inks in a vibrant watercolor technique. I can also enhance your piece with gold illumination using either metallic gold ink or 23K gold leaf. When completed, it will be shipped or delivered to you with a mat, unless agreed to otherwise.

I typically need about four to six months lead time for an original Ketubah, depending on my schedule. This includes the time needed for the consultation and planning before the piece is begun, as well as the actual design and completion of the art. The price for each piece is based on complexity of the work, whether text is in Hebrew, English, or both, as well as any gold illumination.

I look forward to working with you to create a Ketubah that will be a treasure for you or for the couple you are giving it to.

A Brief History of the Ketubah


Click on arrows above to see a piece in progress from sketch to completion