Our planet might just be a speck in the infinite universe, but it’s massive for us. It holds a spectrum of cultures and religions with different customs and traditions. Each has their unique way of celebrating both happy and sad occasions. With the world becoming more connected than ever, so have our societies and values. We’ve all learnt and borrowed something from different cultures, and one thing that’s winning non-Jews from Judaism is the ketubah.
A few years back, The New York Times published a report on non-Jews embracing ketubahs in their wedding rituals. Not interfaith couples, but couples who liked the meaning of a ketubah and its significance in life of the promise you make with God.
Some Christian couples have adopted ketubahs because of their shared spiritual history. The Austins were one such Christian couple who signed a ketubah after exchanging vows and rings. “Embracing this Jewish tradition just brings a richness that we miss out on sometimes as Christians when we don’t know the history,” said Mrs. Austin, 29, a business manager for AT&T. “Jesus was Jewish, and we appreciate his culture, where he came from.”
Gentiles embracing ketubahs coincides with recent social trends in the rise of Christian Zionism, the increasing numbers of interfaith marriages, and the search for spirituality in the customs of multiple religions. Because of the rise in awareness of Jewish practices, many non-Jews have adopted other Jewish traditions like the holding of a Passover Seder, kosher food and learning about kabbalah.
The Austins became aware of ketubahs when Mrs. Austin’s elder sister had one at her wedding a few years earlier. She loved how the contract is a permanent reminder of their covenant with God. As she says, “One of the characteristics of a covenant is a tangible sign. And this piece of paper, this beautiful piece of art, is the sign of our covenant.”