The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life is one of the participating partners in the ketubbot digitization project of the Jewish National and University Library. Many of the over two hundred ketubbot (Jewish marriage certificates) in the collection are included in the database, complete with high- and low-resolution digital surrogates.
For over 2000 years Jewish law has required that every husband present his wife, at the time of their marriage, with a marriage contract or ketubbah, guaranteeing the wife’s financial rights in case of the husband’s death or divorce. Over generations, various local customs found their way into the legal text of the ketubbah and ketubbah decorations reflected the Jewish art of each locality and period. Ketubbot are therefore a rich source of material on Jewish history, customs and art. The fact that, as legal documents, ketubbot contain exact dates and place names allows their absolute identification with specific communities and periods.
The ketubbot digitization project aims to create a worldwide registry of ketubbot in public and private collections throughout the world. Based on the collection of the Jewish National and University Library with over 1600 items, the project contains ketubbot originating from dozens of different countries, and covering a time period of over 900 years. It is a major resource for research in Jewish history, law and art.