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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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Historical and Cultural Background

Historical and Cultural Background

(p.21) Chapter Two Historical and Cultural Background
The Carved Wooden Torah Arks of Eastern Europe

Bracha Yaniv

Liverpool University Press

This chapter illustrates the design of the eastern European wooden Torah ark from that has several characteristic elements, such as tall height, variety in form, and richness in iconography. It describes the vast geographical diffusion of the numerous arks built during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Jewish communities in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It also talks about the scattering of the Jewish population over many settlements that resulted in the establishment of several synagogues and construction of Torah arks against the background of wider historical processes. The chapter recounts events that affected the pattern of Jewish settlement that shaped the political, social, and cultural life of the population of eastern Europe. It reviews the establishment of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569 and the Cossack-peasant uprising headed by Bogdan Chmielnicki in 1648.

Keywords:   Torah arks, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, synagogues, Jewish settlement, Cossack-peasant uprising, Bogdan Chmielnicki

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