I am a Yid. I like to rock. Veitur!

- [ Thursday, July 29, 2004 ] -
Decoding a Ketubah
I'm kind of the unofficial "rabbi" of the office where I work (I'm not a rabbi by any means, nor do I present myself as one). You know what I mean. Whenever people have a question about anything Jewish, they come to me.

We have a secular Jew at the office. He asked me how good I was at reading Hebrew script. I told him, depending on the handwriting and the context, I could hold my own. He then told me that he was going through his dad's old stuff and found his grandparents' ketubah (Jewish marriage contract). He knew very little about them, and he wanted to know all he could. I took it as a great honor, to help him out this way, and I started reading it.

For this kind of document, the handwriting was surprisingly good. I got the year as being 5678 (1918 C.E.). He said that was weird because he thought his father was born in 1913. We went back to the document to look a little closer. As is the case with many ketubot, the city/state is probably some horrible, outdated transliteration, which was a little too sloppy for me to read.

I went on to read the bride's name, and had some difficulty. My mutilated guesses didn't really ring a bell with this guy, so I went on the man's name. "Avraham ben R. Naftali Halevi." As it turns out, that isn't his grandfather's name, and his grandfather wasn't a Levite.

Maybe he'll go back and look in the pile for another ketubah...