Friday, September 23, 2005

Jewish marriage contract (Ketubah)

Jewish marriage contract (Ketubah)

[photo by gail on the web]
Water colour and ink on vellum
Jerusalem or Istanbul, dated 1793-94 (Hebrew calendar 5554)
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

A Jewish marriage requires a written contract stating the obligations of the husband toward his wife. It also gives the amount of money due to the wife in the event of a divorce.

This contract states the conditions in the left-hand panel. Both sides were signed by the same three witnesses, using unusual cryptic designs as signatures which could not be imitated easily. One takes the form of a quadruped.

I took this photo back in early July when I was in Toronto. At the time I was thinking of doing some research on Jewish wedding traditions to see if we could incorporate some elements into our wedding. There was a small exhibit in the Royal Ontario Museum dedicated to Jewish culture, but the lighting made photography more than a little challenging, so I took only a few photos.

This afternoon our officiating minister and his wife came by to discuss the ceremony and do some planning. David and I had been tossing ideas back and forth last night about our vows that would tie in our original theme (Art Nouveau), and we wanted to run them by Bob and Sue. Maybe I shouldn't get too detailed at this point -- we want to keep it a surprise and some attendees will be reading this -- but suffice to say the spirit of conventional wedding vows remains intact, but the form they take will differ. Vague, I know, but I'll publish the vows after the wedding and all will be revealed. I've never seen anyone do it this way, but as soon as the idea materialised in my head I knew I wanted to do it.

This afternoon's meeting was very productive: we formulated a basic order of proceedings, timing, etc. There will only be 16 people attending in total, so the atmosphere will be much more intimate than with the original numbers of guests.

Today I spoke to my dad and he said their flight yesterday went smoothly, so all's well on the home front in Maine. Dad and Melissa flew from Vancouver shortly after 8am, stopped for a few hours in Minneapolis, and arrived in Boston, where they were greeted by GMP (Jean), the one-lady welcoming committee. A little birdie told me Dad drove part of the way home because he wanted to test drive the PT Cruiser. Shameless!

I'll see my dad on Sunday night, when he arrives in Scranton nearly 12 hours after leaving Maine. It sounds rather cruel to subject him to such a long bus ride after a long flight from Vancouver to Boston, but my objective was to send him point-to-point. Best to keep things simple, especially when everything else... isn't.