Recent acquisition by the Katz Center Library: A 19th-century Bulgarian Ketubah


Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

The Katz Center library is pleased to announce the acquisition in December of 2011 of a marriage contract (ketubah) from Ruse, Bulgaria  (1831).

The ketubah in black ink and watercolor is written in Aramaic and Hebrew Sephardic semi-cursive script, on thick paper. It features an Italianate and Islamic-influenced double-arch design with colorful floral and geometric patterns in the supporting columns and vines along scalloping. The text has three paragraphs: standard ketubah text in the right arch, conditions and bride’s dowry in the left arch. Two verses from Proverbs (19:14, 18:22) are enclosed in the arches and cross beam.
    The wedding took place on Mon. 10 Marḥeshvan, 5592 [October 17, 1831] in the city of Oroniḳ, today the town of Ruse, on the River Ṭuna, known as the Danube River. The groom is Aharon beha-r. Mosheh ha-m. Mirḳado H.y.ṿ. ben ha-n. u-m. beha-r. Mosheh b. Efrayim H.y.ṿ. The bride is Biliya t.m. de-miḳre Bekhorah t.m. bat ha-manoaḥ Ḥayim Daniyel di Leʼon ha-m. Parisiʼado. Witness signatures are illegible.

This piece was acquired for the Penn Libraries with assistance from the Elis & Ruth Douer Term Fund Elis and Ruth Douer Endowment for Sephardic Culture.