What is a Ketubah?

The Ketubah is a type of prenuptial agreement which is commonly used by Jews. It is a crucial part of our marriages, and designates the obligations and rights of the groom for the bride. It was first established during antiquity and was primarily designed for the protection of the woman. The Ketubah is a system in which the bride price (or amount payable to the wife), would be given in the event that the marriage ended, either due to divorce or her husband’s death.

The Ketubah is a contract which falls under the requirements of Jewish law (Halakha). When Jews marry, the husband is expected to provide three things for his wife, which are food, clothing and conjugality. He also agrees to pay her an amount which is pre-specified in the event that the two are separated. When a classical Jewish wedding is performed two witnesses will sign the Ketubah and read the terms out loud beneath a chuppah.

The witnesses have to be halakhically valid, which means they must not be related to the couple by blood. Females are also not allowed to be witnesses. Once the Ketubah is completed it is given to the bride. The manner in which the Ketubah is treated differs among Jews. Some couples will display it prominently in their homes while others will only display it in a private area or not at all. The monetary value of a Ketubah is disputed by some, and in modern times, it is rarely enforced.