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Ceremonial Synagogue TextilesFrom Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Italian Communities$
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Bracha Yaniv

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764180

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764180.001.0001

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Chapter One The Evolution of Synagogue Textiles in Ancient and Medieval Times

Chapter One The Evolution of Synagogue Textiles in Ancient and Medieval Times

(p.3) Chapter One The Evolution of Synagogue Textiles in Ancient and Medieval Times
Ceremonial Synagogue Textiles

Bracha Yaniv

, Yohai Goell
Liverpool University Press

This chapter traces the evolution of ceremonial synagogue textiles, which is closely related to that of the Torah scroll, particularly the way in which it was wrapped and the space in which it was stored. This process of evolution began during the Second Temple period and came to an end in the early fifth century, when the method of writing Torah scrolls was set. The wrapping of a Torah scroll is mentioned in the Talmud and the Mishnah in a variety of contexts, including the different levels of sanctity. These sources, together with archaeological finds from antiquity, provide the basis for a reconstruction of how the Torah scroll was wrapped in the ancient period. The chapter then looks at the evolution of the Torah scroll's mapah — wrapper, binder, and mantle — in Ashkenaz (France and the German lands), and in Italy and Spain. It also considers the parokhet and the cloth used to cover the reading desk (bimah, or tevah), which is one of the most ubiquitous ceremonial objects in the synagogue.

Keywords:   ceremonial synagogue textiles, Torah scroll, Second Temple period, Talmud, Mishnah, mapah, parokhet, bimah, tevah

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