Jerusalem Papercut

Excerpt from Personal Letter

The rabbis have a wise saying: ha-makom gorem, loosely meaning ‘the place shapes the individual.’ Overall the theme of this ketubbah is Jerusalem – truly the place that has shaped the destiny of the Jewish people. When I wrestled with the design of the ketubbah, struggling to find something worthy and fitting, I received inspiration from an unlikely source – the dramatic stained glass window which sits prominently in the building overlooking the courtyard of the wedding venue. I noticed that the beautiful windows were framed in circle, square and triangle shapes. Given the centrality of this window to the venue and the centrality of Jerusalem to Israel, I adopted these shapes and placed the seventy different names of Jerusalem in these primary shapes.

Here are the seventy names which were calligraphed in the framing papercut: Yerushalayim; Shalem; HaShem Yirah; Yivus; Gilad; Levanon; Tzion; Kiseh HaShem; Ir HaShem; Yaffe Nof; Har Tzion; Yirkhetei Tzafon; Kiryat Melech Rav; Meshosh Kol HaAretz; Chaftzi Ba; Efrata; Sadeh Ya’ar; Menucha; Ariel; Har Mo’ed; Rabati Am; Rabati BaGoyim; Sharti BaMidinot; Ir Sh’chubrah La Yachdav; Ir Lo Na’azvah; Beit Tefillah; Migdal Eder; Mitzudah; Moriah; Gan HaShem; Har G’vohah; Ir HaYona; Kriyah Ne’emana; Ir HaTzedek; Gai Ch’zion; Givat HaLevona; Dlatot HaAmim; Har HaKodesh; Har Chemed; Nachalah; Ir David Yam; B’ulah; Even Ma’amasah; Yafeh; B’tulah; Kallah; Eishet N’urim; Yedidut; Drushah; Gilah; Eden; HaShem K’doshim; Akrah; Bamot; Ir HaNegev; Bashan; Chadrech; Ramah; Golah v’surah; Gan Elokim; Har Darom; M’kudeshet; Morha; Carmel; Har Merom Yisrael; Klilat Yofi; HaShem Shamah; Armon; Tavor HaAretz; Rachel. (Midrash HaGadol 46:7) I used the papercut medium to give these names a sense of dimensionality (floating off of a turquoise background) as well as a feeling of transparency, and openness which reflect hopes for a healthy relationship.

Landmarks representing the city of Jerusalem appear in each of the corners: Tower of David, Yemin Moshe, the Montefiore Windmill, and the Scottish Guesthouse overlooking a panoramic view of the Old City walls. Various shades of blue gouache were used to illuminate these locales and the overall decoration of the ketubbah. In large Hebrew lettering, the famous quote (often recited just before the breaking of the glass) from Psalms 137 appears: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I fail to remember you; if I do not place Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.”