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The Art of Matrimony: Thirty Splendid Marriage Contracts from The Jewish Theological Seminary Library

March 11, 2011 - June 26, 2011


Artist Talks

Archie Granot
Thursday, May 12
2:00 pm

Saul Chernick
Monday, May 23
11:30 am

Free with admission
For over two millennia the ketubbah (marriage contract) has been an integral part of Jewish marriages. Ever since the second century, rabbinic authorities have attributed extreme importance to this marriage document which typically records the bridegroom’s obligations toward his bride in the event of divorce or death. Thirty ketubbot from the world-renowned collection of The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, dating from the twelfth through the twenty-first centuries and reflecting the geographical diversity of Jewish settlement, are featured in this exhibition.

Found in the homes of married Jews, whether wealthy or poor, scholar or layman, in the West or in the East, ketubbot provide a wealth of information concerning the artistic creativity, cultural interactions and social history of the Jewish communities in which they were created. They offer a fascinating look at the lives of individual couples, varied marriage customs, and the spread of artistic styles through commerce and trade. By examining the names of the betrothed, dates, geographic locale, special conditions and monetary details contained within the text, the modern viewer can glean additional details about patronage, folklore and the social and financial status of Jewish families from around the world.

The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary
Ketubot (Marriage Contracts)
Wedding Poems

The Jewish Museum Online Collection
Marriage Contracts
Marriage Related Items (keyword: Marriage)
Marriage Online Tour

Jewish National and University Library
Ketubbot Collection (Marriage Contracts)

About the Text & Translations
The Ketubah Text (Part I) by Rabbi Maurice Lamm on
The Ketubah Text (Part II) by Rabbi Maurice Lamm on

ketubbahMarriage Contract (Ketubbah)
Qirqyer (Kier Kier), Crimea, 1769
Ink, gouache, and gold powder on paper
The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary
KET 351

Funding for this exhibition was made possible, in part, through the generosity of Barbara and Benjamin Zucker.

Plan Your Visit

The Jewish Museum - 5th Avenue
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York NY 10128