Traditionally written in Aramaic, the ketubah details the groom's obligations toward his future wife. Under Jewish law, the traditional wedding ceremony process starts with the signing of the ketubah (Hebrew for “written thing”), which is the marriage contract.
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Ketubah is traditionally written in Aramaic from the Talmudic era. More modern versions can be written in Hebrew, English, or another language. Since the bridegroom could not speak Aramaic, the rabbi would read the ketubah aloud and explain what he was doing.
Ketubah explains in detail the obligations of the groom towards his future wife after marriage. The ketubah also shows how much the husband would have to pay if he divorced for no reason, although this is hardly the case today.
Most Jews do not live in Israel and as a result will be divorced in civil courts. Even if they choose a foreign rabbinical court, it is rare that the amount stipulated in the taboo is paid due to negotiations and legal maneuvers.
In Israel, divorce can occur either in a rabbinical court or in a civil court; the payments shown by the ketubah were ignored by civil courts, and the same maneuver took place in religious courts.
An alternative version of Ketubu can be used in more progressive schools of Judaism, including one that defines the responsibilities of husband and wife to each other on an equal basis. In this case, the bride also signs a contract.