judaica & ketubot
"Ketubah for Jessica Landis and Colin Thibadeau", Oil on wood, 2009
Commission a Custom Ketubah
There is a tradition in Judaism that when a ritual object is necessary to fulfill a commandment, that object should be beautiful and fitting to that commandment in order to glorify and intensify its observance.
The ketubah—the Jewish wedding contract—is in the midst of a revival. For most of its long history (beginning sometime between 2 B.C.E. and 1 C.E.), the ketubah was simply a legal contract that spelled out the obligations of a husband to his wife upon their marriage. But the traditional ketubot can be thought of as progressive documents, for they conferred financial rights upon wives that women otherwise did not have, safeguarding them in the event that their husbands abandoned them or died.
Today many couples see the ketubah as one of the most meaningful expressions of their marriage covenant.
"Ketubah for Paul Fisher and Melanie Colton", Oil on wood, 2010
"Ketubah for Tracy Baumgardner and Armando Armanza"
Oil on wood, 40" x 28", 2014
"Ketubah for Jennifer Goldberg and Boris Rapoport", Oil on wood, 2005
"A Blessing for the Home", Oil on wood, 2002
"Ketubah for Belinda Blum and Eric Wallach", Oil on wood, 40" x 25", 2007
"Ketubah of Andrew Goldberg and Leslie Derkash", 2010
"My First Ketubah",
Oil on wood, 1995
"A Celebration at the Western Wall" ,
Oil on monoprint collage, 36" x 24", 2008
My ketubot are unlike any others. The system I developed has stayed pretty much the same since I first started making them in 1995. Unless there are special circumstances, I always meet with the couple in person. Nothing beats meeting people in person. We eat, drink, and brainstorm about what images they would like on their ketubah (special places, foods, colors, objects, symbols, etc). I'm in close contact with the couple throughout the process to create a highly personal work of art.
I collaborate with my calligrapher, who also works directly with the couple to give them the exact document they want. Most of time they want the traditional Hebrew text alongside their own English vows. My calligrapher knows the rules and can work with any couple, whether orthodox, reform, or interfaith, whether straight or gay.
Another unique element of my ketubot is that they're painted on ornate shapes that I cut out of wood. These shapes are inspired by the ketubot created in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in countries as diverse as Italy, Iran, Tunisia, and India.
"Haggadah illustration, Mariam's Well",
Paper collage, 15" x 30", 2012
"Pascal Lamb with Kosher Wine", Monoprint, 2001
Then, to complete the process, I work with a framer who builds a custom frame that's engineered in such a way that the ketubah document (usually written on parchment) can be removed from the painting before the wedding ceremony so that the bride, groom, witnesses, and rabbi can sign it. The parchment can easily be replaced so the entire ketubah can be displayed during the wedding party.
Prices range between $3000-$6000, depending on size and content. Everything is included: the painting, the calligraphy, and the framing. It's one-stop shopping. Even at that price I feel they're a good deal because I am easily spending 100 hours on each one.
I also make "Tree of Life" ketubah monoprints priced between $1500-$2000. These are original works of art on cotton rag paper, with the calligraphy done directly on the artwork. They're personalized as well, but not to the extent of the ones painted on wood. These do not include a frame; the couple would frame it themselves.
I consider it a mitzvah and an honor to be able to help couples mark and celebrate the spiritual covenant of marriage with an original piece of art. My hope is that the ketubot I create will become cherished family heirlooms
"The Red Heifer Seeking Knowledge From the Tree of Life", Oil on wood, 2005
"A Study for stage backdrop for Tap Fusion's: 'Seven Blessings", Oil on wood, 2003
"Huppah," Oil on canvas, 1997
"Ketubah of Lysa & Mike Puma",
Oil on wood, 2002
"Ketubah of April Cantor
and Barry Blumenfeld",
Oil on wood, 1999
"Ketubah for Doug Levitt and Jennifer Steen", Monoprint with calligraphy, 30" x 22" 2009;
Oil and collage on canvas, 1991
"Ketubah of Betsy Facher
and Evan Rauch",
Oil on Wood, 2007
"Ketubah (without portraits) for Hilary Spirer and Avrum Leeder",
Oil on wood, 2006
"Ketubah of Allison Berg
and David Karasik",
Oil on wood, 1998