Can you have a ketubah without a rabbi?

Answered by James Kissner

It is possible to have a ketubah without a rabbi. The ketubah, which is a Jewish marriage contract, is primarily a legal document that outlines the various rights and obligations of the husband towards his wife. While a rabbi is often involved in the wedding ceremony and may be present to provide guidance and support, their signature is not required on the ketubah.

The essential requirement for a valid ketubah is that it be signed by two witnesses. These witnesses can be any Jewish individuals who are of sound mind and are not immediate family members of the bride or groom. The role of the witnesses is to attest to the fact that they have witnessed the signing of the ketubah and that they understand its contents.

In some cases, couples may choose to have a family member or close friend act as a witness to the ketubah signing. This can add a personal touch to the process and make it more meaningful for the couple. It is important, however, to ensure that the witnesses understand their role and responsibilities in signing the document.

While the bride and groom are not required to sign the ketubah, they may choose to do so. Some couples see it as a symbolic gesture of their commitment to each other and as a way to personalize the ketubah. The signatures of the bride and groom can be added alongside those of the witnesses, if desired.

It is worth noting that the ketubah is often discussed and prepared with the guidance of a rabbi or another knowledgeable individual. They can help ensure that the ketubah adheres to Jewish legal requirements and that it accurately reflects the couple’s intentions. However, their signature is not necessary for the ketubah to be valid.

In some cases, couples may opt for an alternative to a traditional ketubah, such as a customized or modernized version. These can still serve as a meaningful representation of the couple’s commitment, even without the involvement of a rabbi.

While a rabbi can provide guidance and support in the preparation and signing of a ketubah, their involvement is not a requirement. As long as the ketubah is signed by two witnesses and meets the necessary legal and halachic (Jewish legal) requirements, it can be considered valid.