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May 26, 2015 1:02 pm

1,000-Year-Old Jewish Marriage Contract Goes on Display in Jerusalem

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The 1,000-year-old ketubah on display at the National Library of Israel. Photo: Courtesy of the National Library of Israel.

JNS.org – In honor of the wedding season that began after Lag Ba’Omer this month, the National Library of Israel is launching an exhibition about the ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract, featuring a rare 1,000-year-old ketubah that testifies to the presence of a Jewish community in 11th century Safed.

The ketubah, written in Aramaic, has been dated to Nov. 28, 1023. It was written in what was then the city of Tzur. The scribe is named as Yosef Hacohen, son of Yaakov, and the couple is named as Natan Hacohen, son of Shlomo, and Rachel, from Safed.

“This is one of the first and only existing artifacts that testifies to the Jewish community in Safed during that period,” said Dr. Yoel Finkelman, the National Library’s Judaica curator.

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He said all ketubahs include a section detailing the husband’s duty to provide for and take care of his wife and outlining what her rights are in the event of divorce.

“Along with that, some included additional sections. For example, a well-off family may offer to provide more financially in order to marry a woman from a well-respected family, or a family of Torah scholars,” he said.

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