Answered by
Rabbi Victor S. Appell

Ketubah means “written” and has come to refer to the Jewish marriage contract. An ancient document, the ketubah represented an advancement in women’s status by protecting the rights of the bride. In its original form, the ketubah specified such things as the dowry and the groom’s responsibility to support his wife.

While the ketubah was traditionally written in Aramaic, in Reform communities today, it is usually written in Hebrew and English. Rather than laying out financial obligations, modern ketubot often include the spiritual and religious aspirations of the couple and the household they are forming.

The ketubah is read just prior to or during the wedding ceremony. Many wording options are available and couples comprised of all genders and sexualities sometimes write their own ketubah text, creating a personal, affirming, and egalitarian document. Ketubot (plural of ketubah) have become works of art which many couples hang in their home.

Learn more about the ketubah from the Bimbam video below: