Educational Resources

This Digital Resource Library was created by the Jewish Museum London learning team. The Library brings together objects, video and audio that relate to the Jewish experience in Wales from collections across the country and is specifically designed for teachers and students.

Ketubah (Object)

Copyright/attribution: Cyfarthfa Castle Museum

Copyright/attribution: Cyfarthfa Castle Museum

What do you see?

We can see an archway with two pillars on either side. We can also see lots of Hebrew writing. What can you see?

What do we know?

This is a ketubah, a Jewish Marriage Certificate. The ketubah is very important in Judaism, and in traditional communities individuals are not able to get married or live together without one. The ketubah protects the legal rights of women and makes it difficult to get a divorce. Ketubahs have been used in Jewish marriages since the 5th century BCE.

Ketubahs are traditionally written in Aramaic. Aramaic is an ancient language which is similar to Hebrew. However, the ketubah text can be written in any language as long as the translated text exactly matches the original Aramaic text. This is so that the terms of the marriage contract can be understood by all the individuals.

One one side of this ketubah is printed text in Hebrew. On the other side there is hand-written text in English. This ketubah was signed by the groom, Jacob Surman, and the bride, Annie Isaacs, at their wedding on 6 December 1922 at the Merthyr Tydfil Synagogue.

What do you wonder?

We might wonder how Jacob and Annie felt when signing their ketubah? We might wonder how many guests attended their wedding? What do you wonder?

Discussion Questions

Many Jewish people hang their ketubah on a wall on display in their homes, why might this be?

How might an Orthodox and a Reform Jewish wedding be different?