Report: More Non-Jewish Couples Taking On Marriage Rituals Of The Faith, Especially Kesubos

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kesubahThe Associated Press reports: Jessie Engelman and her fiance plan to wed later this year in Jamaica, where they’ll sign a ketubah, the traditional Jewish marriage contract.

Soon after, they’ll host a pig roast in her tiny Iowa hometown.

Neither bride nor groom is Jewish, nor are they evangelical Christians looking to honor their biblical connections to the faith.

“My mom and my grandparents had never heard of a ketubah. … After we explained it they thought it was really cool,” said the 31-year-old Engelman, a quality assurance manager from Nyack, N.Y. “We love the spirit of it.”

More non-Jewish couples have embraced Jewish marriage rituals over the last decade. Some stomp a glass – or a lightbulb as a popular substitute. Others recite vows under a canopy, called a chuppah.

But it’s the ketubah that often catches the eye of couples with no familial or cultural ties to Judaism.

The demand for “non-Jewish” ketubot (the plural) increases every year at the sites JudaicConnection and ShopKetubah, both run by Cindy Michael in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The number of ketubah artists setting up shop online has exploded in recent years, making it that much easier for non-Jewish couples to embrace the practice.

The ketubah is more than just fancy calligraphy. It’s often poster-size and ornate, suitable for framing later with artwork either as backdrop or accompaniment. “Interestingly enough, some of the non-Jewish couples choose very traditional Jewish texts,” Michael said.

She works with many ketubah artists specifically for non-Jewish couples.

“Many times they contact us after having attended Jewish friends’ weddings,” Michael said. “Previously, they often had to order a custom text but now there are many designs they can choose from with standard wording for all faith couples.”

Stephanie Caplan is a ketubah artist on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. She’s been doing custom work for non-Jewish clients who found her offline and through her website,, for several years. She recently added more affordable prints suitable for couples who want to celebrate but not practice the faith.

“I always felt it was something that everybody could have,” she said. “I didn’t see why it should just be for Jews. It can be the thing that reflects the spirit of the day, more than those 50,000 photographs you took at your wedding. It’s just a nice energy.”

{Read the full report at The Washington Post/ Newscenter}


  1. this is a dangureus trnd as a grand parents kesubah is often used as a riah for jewish yichus i hope the makers know enghup to make it obvios from the text theat the paties are goyim gemurim

  2. I was once privileged to sit in on a Shiur at the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn that was given by Rav Don Segel, Sh’lita. The subject was the Sheva Mitzvos B’nei Noach – the Seven Mitzvos that even non-Jews are obligated to fulfill. Rav Segel brought out the following Y’sod – the following principle. Along with the Seven specific Mitzvos, any regulation that “the Sechel is Mechaiyev” – that “basic common sense would dictate should be a guideline for human behavior,” everyone, even a non-Jew is obligated to adhere to.

    A Kesuba – a “marriage contract” delineates in detail the legal obligations and expectations that a man and a woman have to each other — and fully agree to — when they marry. These obligations and expectations cover all aspects of the relationship: respect, honor, intimate, support, and other financial and property issues.

    The formulation of such a contract clearly strengthens the marriage relationship with dignity, respect, honor, stability, and, seriousness. It is thus obviously a very excellent and totally logical item that a man and a woman who are getting married should make. Therefore, it definitely should be something that even non-Jews are obligated to do.

  3. Halevay myself and others should be Zoche

    to have the Zechus to use a Ketuba.

    Many of us never had the opportunity to
    practice the “Even Ezer” portion of the
    Shulchan Aruch.


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