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Was at a Conservative friend's house the other day, and noticed the Ketubah from their wedding on their wall. I went to look at it and saw 4 witnesses had signed it: 2 men & 2 women.

If an Orthodox person was asked by a Conservative/ Reform friend to be a witness for such a Ketubah (or a Ketubah that deviates from accepted halachik practice), would they be allowed to?

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    I was asked to do this once, and my rabbi suggested that I not do so. On the other hand, I was also asked another time to be a witness for a wedding that was ostensibly Orthodox, though the bride and groom certainly did not observe at that level (i.e. they were living together before the wedding), and I was advised that I could do so and that it was even a good idea for me to maintain my relationship with the couple so they'd be friends with someone who was practicing at a higher level. – Daniel Apr 17 at 15:08
  • Is it any worse than signing a secular contract between the two? – Al Berko Apr 17 at 15:49
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    @AlBerko right but re: מראית עין, the person is at the wedding anyways. Perhaps it could be a problem of "validating" this non-halachik practice? – alicht Apr 17 at 15:53
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This is a draft answer outlining the major considerations:

  1. "מראית עין" - there's a problem of being perceived in public as "turning sides". Especially valid if the Ketubah mentions explicitly it follows a different tradition, Reform for example.

  2. Signing on what one sees is not a problem. Even a Reform Ketubah (as a simple, non-religious contract) isn't worse than any secular contract, so if one can sign a secular contract, one can surely sign on this ... paper.

  3. A Ketubah that doesn't mention the Groom's debt to his bride is not a Ketubah. Therefore by signing such one is transgressing לפני עוור - misleading the couple into believing they have a Ketubah while they don't and it is Rabbinically prohibited to cohabit without one.

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    In my experience a Reform or Conservative Ketubah will not mention the fact that it is such; it's the contract clauses that would typically tip you off to the 'denomination' the sofer and couple belong to – Josh K Apr 17 at 23:26
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    "Even a Reform Ketubah isn't worse than a secular contract, so if one can sign a secular contract" er, it's a religious document so by definition worse than a secular document - you are implicitly accepting that a reform k'suva is a valid religious sdocument – user15253 Apr 18 at 12:36
  • @Orangesandlemons You totally misunderstood me - I wrote "... paper", meaning it's just a paper. But I edited the question to make it clear - as a contract, not as a Ketubah. – Al Berko Apr 18 at 15:51
  • @oranges since when is a Ketubbah a religious document? Is a chametz sale form a religious document? It's an entirely secular legally binding contract. Someone might want to enter the contract for religious reasons but it itslef is just a regular contract – Double AA Apr 18 at 16:38
  • @DoubleAA a kesubah is required for any Jewish marriage halachily. Selling chometz with a document is not. I.e. the document is not just to ensure a financial result, it is required by Judaism for a religious institution (marriage) – user15253 Apr 18 at 17:57

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