Ketubot. Jewish Family Traditions And Traditional Families

Ketubot. Jewish Family Traditions And Traditional Families

facebook icon twitter icon email icon telegram icon link icon whatsapp icon

October - November 2015

Borys Voznytskiy Lviv National Art Gallery (vul. Stefanyka, 3)

This exhibition showcased a collection of Ketubbot (marriage documents) from Italy dated in the XVII-XIX.

During the exhibition, the Art Gallery also hosted an educational program consisting of a series of lectures and discussions about the historical, social and cultural contexts of marriage and family in the Jewish and Ukrainian traditions and in the contemporary context.

Nine ketubahs, created by folk craftsmen and professional artists in Italy centuries ago, were found entirely by chance. In 2010, during a routine inventory of Potocki Palace, the then director, Borys Voznytskiy together with Archive Curator, Natalka Filevych, found the Jewish wedding documents among old posters. Now this unique discovery, whose historic and aesthetic value cannot be overrated, will be on display for the public. The Exhibition designer is Volodymyr Kostyrko.

Finding and researching these artifacts provided a reason to discuss marriage and family. The Center for Urban History, in cooperation with the exhibition organizers, arranged a series of lectures and discussions on this topic. The series will explore what marriage and family is in traditional Jewish and Ukrainian society. Why did marriage contracts become a facet of Jewish culture? What do we know about Jewish wedding rituals and family traditions? Which notions of the traditional Ukrainian family, which we pass on from generation to generation, are overly romanticized? The program will conclude with a talk on what marriage and family mean today, and what challenges the institution of family faces in modern society.

To delve into these topics we invited experts, historians and anthropologists, as well as religious leaders. The following individuals have taken part in the lecture program: architectural historian Sergey Kravtsov(Hebrew University of Jerusalem), historians Oksana Kis (Institute of Ethnology, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), Vladyslava Moskalets (UCU/Jagiellonian University), and Tomasz Jankowski (a specialist in genealogy and historical demography).

Held concurrently with the adult program was a program for children. During six sessions the children will play games that allow them to immerse themselves in the unique phenomenon that is traditional marriage. The nine showcased ketubah's, will become the foundation (through symbols, fonts, styles, texts, emblems, patterns and ornaments) on which they will learn more about the history of Jewish weddings and family traditions.

Exhibition Currator: Vita Sustak, Director of 19-20th Century Jewish Art, Lviv National Art Gallery
Exhibition Designer: Vlodko Kostyrko, artist
Children’s Program Coordinator: Khrystyna Boyko
Lecture Series Coordinators: Iryna Matsevko and Volodymyr Beglov


Center for Urban History
Lviv National Art Gallery

With support from the Embassy of Israel in Ukraine

  • img

  • img


Сover Image: Fragment of marriage contract from Livorno, 1735