The Yoreh Ketuba
Date Elul 5769
There are times when the artist is given so many ideas that a couple wishes that it is hard to integrate everything unless the design permits it to happen. This ketuba is one of those special ketubot where the design of the illustrations revolved entirely around the wishes of the groom, the bride and the groom's father and, in the end, it all clicked perfectly for the artist. Knowing that they wanted their ketuba to look very much like the Shuval ketuba, was the first main item except that the groom chose an olive tree.
Most unusual to Norman's work, is the song by Israeli artist Danny Sanderson, "Everything for You" and the artist decided to place it in a circle to enclose the entire ketuba. The song was also sung at their wedding by a close friend.
If you'd like to hear this song, click here.
Symbolism abounds in this ketuba and each thing the couple wanted visualized signified something important and personal to the both of them. The family name of the groom, Yoreh, means rain, as in the 2nd paragraph of the Shema prayer in the daily prayerbook.
The couple wanted lilies (the bride's Hebrew name) and the bride's middle name, Devorah, is bee in Hebrew and they wanted to have a bee flying around the lilies. The bride's middle name is Dawn, and this is why the first light of the morning is visible behind the ducks on the water. And the ducks are mentioned in the Sanderson song.
And to put the finishing touch to the ketuba, the father of the groom called at the last minute and asked Norman to put the initials of the bride and groom in the trunk of the tree as if they were sitting there and carving them in memory of when they first started dating and did imprint their initials into fresh cement.
The tree image itself is on the curtain of the ark (Parochet) of the Narayever synagogue in Toronto where they first met as children.