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The Carved Wooden Torah Arks of Eastern Europe$
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Bracha Yaniv

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764371

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764371.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Carved Wooden Torah Arks of Eastern Europe

Bracha Yaniv

Liverpool University Press

This chapter gives an overview of installed arks and synagogues that still existed at the beginning of the twentieth century but were destroyed in the two world wars. It mentions surviving ark doors of synagogues that are now kept as museum items, which are considered silent witnesses to the rich tradition that was once part of Jewish life. It also reviews photographs of the arks that were taken before the Second World War and a few pre-war academic works and publications that were written mainly by architects and art historians, whose interest did not focus on Torah arks. The chapter refers to arks according to the name of their city or town of provenance, including their wider geographical location and other relevant information. It describes unique visual presentation of motifs that were never seen on arks, which characterized the period between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.

Keywords:   arks, synagogues, Jewish life, Torah arks, Second World War, motifs

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