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The Ketubah (Marriage contract) is the document that a groom gives his bride on their wedding day stating his obligations--both monetary and otherwise--to her. It has been the custom over the generations to decorate the margins of the ketubah with scenes from the Bible as well as with other illuminations relating to courtship and marriage. These decorations transform the ketubah from a dry legal document into a work of art, and a window into the world and culture of the Jewish communities that produced them. It is our pleasure to present for this exhibit two ketubahs from the Sholem Asch Collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.




Ketubah (marriage contract), Nice, 1690. Bridegroom: Jacob ben Samson Vallabrega. Bride: Rosa bat Joseph Kohen.
Extended caption and larger reproduction (images are 150k+).




Ketubah, Rome, 1793. Bridegroom: Abraham Hayyim ben Ephraim Modigliani. Bride: Rosa bat Menahem Modigliani.
Extended caption and larger reproduction (images are 150k+).


Ketubah, 1817. Bridegroom: Hananiah ben Reuben Mansi. Bride: Grazia bat Jacob Hayyim Azkariel.




Keter (crown) ca. 1800. Symbolic representation of the three crowns: learning, priesthood, royalty. But surpassing them all is the fourth, the crown of a good name.
Extended caption and larger reproduction (images are 150k+).




Keter (crown) Symbolic representation of the three crowns: learning, priesthood, royalty.
Extended caption and larger reproduction (images are 150k+).


Scroll of Esther, Brody, Austrian Poland, ca. 1750. On vellum.




Prints from Palestine in the 1930s


Books from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library


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