The validity of the Ketubah, the Orthodox Jewish religious marriage certificate, according to which the wife is awarded property rights to the estate of her husband in the event of his death, was recognized by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court in a decision handed down by judge Manning.
The decision was rendered in the case of Hurwitz versus Hurwitz, David E. Hurwitz against Rebecca Hurwitz.
The question came up in connection with the right to the possession of a house which the widow claimed as against the other relatives because it was given to her by her husband before their marriage in a Ketabah.
The objection to the Ketubah was based upon the claim that is was a document which could only be conserved and enforced according to a foreign law, but the Appellate Division ruled to the contrary.
“I do not understand that the socailed laws of Moses and Israel are what are known and accepted as foreign aws. The foreign laws ### by us are those of a foreign state or nation.### permanently ### ? a Exed ###tory. bound #### by common cons### #######and things within #s b### capable of making war and peace and of eatering into international relations with other communities (Roche v. Washington. ### Rep.)“Contracts such as the one under discussion. which are intended to regulate and control interests, which either of the parties to a marriage shall have in the property of the other. during life, or even after the other’s death are favored by our courts and will be enforced according to the intention of the parties.
“The law favors marriage settlements, and seeks to uphold them.
The contact under discussion is signed by the two rabbis selected by parties to perform this Jewish orthodox marriage ceremony and draw and execute, pursuant to the laws of Moses and Israel’ this orthodox marriage settlement for both parties. Whatever these rabbis did was done in the presence of both parties by this direction and as their duly authorized agents.” Judge Manning declared.
The court ruling was to the effect that: An ante-nuptial contract by which a wife claims to be entitled to possession of the matrimonial residence during her widowhood under rights and privileges allegedly granted by Jewish laws, is enforcible by her so far as such laws are not contrary to domestic laws.
The validity of an ante-nuptial contract written in the Hebrew language cannot be disposed of on a motion for judgment on the pleading, but requires at trial where the circumstances surrounding the execution of the agreement and the situation of the parties may be ascertained and the other issues raised by the pleading may be considered. An ante-nuptial contract which is claimed to entitle the surviving wife to the possession of the family residence occupied by her husband and herself so long as she shall remain a widow under rights and privileges claimed to be granted to her by the Jewish law of Israel and Moses is enforcible by the wife so far as said laws are not contrary to our own law.
An ante-nuptial contract, though involving real estate, signed by an unauthorized agent, to wit, a rabbi, in his own name in the presence of the parties and under their direction, may be held sufficient to satisfy the statute of frauds.