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Reconstructionist Ketubah

Esther Horowitz & Eric Steinberg Ketubah August 6, 2005

The English/Hebrew text is Reconstructionist written by Rabbi Ron Aigen; however, it is not an official ketubah licensed by the Reconstructionist movement.

The calligraphy style of the English is Uncial; the style of the Hebrew is contemporary. At the end of the Hebrew translation, there is Sonnet 17 by Pablo Neruda, “I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you simply, without problems or pride…I love you in this way, because I don’t know any other way of loving.” It was translated by Dr. David Golomb.

Afterward in Hebrew, there is the following text, “Arise, my darling; My fair one, come away! For now the winter is past, The rains are over and gone. The blossoms have appeared in the land, The time of pruning has come; The song of the turtledove Is heard in our land. The green figs form on the fig tree, The vines in blossom give off fragrance…” from The Song of Songs 2, v. 14.

At the top in the center is a Mogen David within a larger Mogen David and it is surrounding by cutwork 6-pointed stars. The Hebrew is “Ani l’dodi, vdodi li.” I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. The first words of the texts is done in 23 karat gold leaf as well as the first letter of several sentences in the English. The two types of cut-out knotwork all around the English is Medieval—Pictish. At each corner is a motif from the Book of Kells.

At the top left and right is a rendering of an eternal flame done in copper & gold metallic paint. On the right is the Dome of the Rock, where legend claims that Abraham offered up Isaac in sacrifice as well as from where Muhammed ascended to heaven. Below that are several Jerusalem homes—some taken from photos surrounding the dome. On the left midground is the citadel of David on the slopes of Mount Zion, where by tradition David prayed to God and sang his psalms of Israel.. The arches are from the Crusader walls , which rest on the foundations of the Tower of Phasael, named for Herod’s brother.

At the bottom left, the motifs are taken from the city of David, south of Mount Moriah from a depiction as it was in 66 C.E., built on contoured slopes in the western city. It was based on a small model executed under the supervision of Prof. Avi-Yonah. In the bottom center, two buildings were taken from a photo looking west from the Russian Tower on the Mount of Olives to the Old City.

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For over twenty years, Arlene Diane Spector has made original ketubot that are in private collections throughout the United States, Canada, and Israel.  
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