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Flood Insurance - Ketubah part 2

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

When I meet with brides and grooms who are looking to get married, they often ask me what is the most equitable ketubah to purchase that will protect both of the bride and groom's rights. As a Cantor who officiates weddings, it’s important to have these open and honest conversations ahead of the marriage. I explain to couples that the Conservative ketubah text is identical to the Traditional Aramaic text, with the addition of the Lieberman Clause. The following is a translation of the Lieberman Clause from the original Aramaic:

And both together agreed that if this marriage shall ever be dissolved under civil law, then either husband or wife may invoke the authority of the Beth Din of the Rabbinical Assembly and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America or its duly authorized representatives, to decide what action by either spouse is then appropriate under Jewish matrimonial law; and if either spouse shall fail to honor the demand of the other or to carry out the decision of the Beth Din or its representative, then the other spouse may invoke any and all remedies available in civil law and equity to enforce compliance with the Beth Din's decision and this solemn obligation.

According to research, the Jewish Talmudic student Saul Lieberman created a clause to be included in the Jewish Conservative Movement’s Ketubah. The Lieberman clause is added to the Ketubah text stipulating that in the event that the marriage is dissolved, and the wife refused a get, both husband and wife may request to appear before a rabbinical court for arbitration. In almost all cases this arbitration under the Lieberman Clause results in the rabbinical court granting the wife a get.

Today, the Lieberman Clause is generally accepted as a part of the Conservative Jewish Ketubah text, although it can also be excluded. Not including the Lieberman Clause in your Ketubah text will not affect any future civil divorce rights whatsoever, only in the sight of the Jewish Rabbinate.

Brides and grooms appreciate having the knowledge before deciding on a ketubah. I know that it’s an awkward topic to discuss for couples planning a wedding and could never imagine anything bad happening to their future marriage. I suppose in the same way it’s why we buy flood insurance for our homes - to protect us and not have to deal with massive headaches if a flood occurs

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