Torah Mantles on a Field Trip

A blog post by Director of Collections and Exhibits Joanna Church. To read more posts by Joanna click HERE.

This week, Trillion and I had the pleasure of taking some of our Torah mantles and binders on a little field trip, to help the Hinenu: Baltimore Justice Shtiebel develop ideas for a new mantle of their own.  As I told the group, our collections – fabulous as they are! – are not often called upon for general research purposes, so I was delighted for the opportunity to share some of our pieces with them.  We met in a cozy room at Homewood Friends Meeting and spent an hour poring over a selection of 19th and 20th century mantles, binders (or wimples), and other related Torah dressings – made of silk, linen, velvet, and cotton, and embellished with a wide variety of colors, materials, and symbols.

Annie Sommer Kaufman, a textile artist and member of Hinenu, will be making a mantle for their recently welcomed Torah scroll, loaned by Congregation Adath Jeshurun (Philadelphia).

After the show-and-tell portion of the evening, she and the other attendees ‘circled up’ to start discussing what they want on their mantle, inspired (at least in part) by the historical examples from our collection. To prepare for the visit, I took the chance to delve into these meaningful and beautiful pieces – so look for some Torah textile-related blog posts in the near future! In the meantime, here are a few glances at our collections field trip.

I can’t wait to see what the Hinenu members come up with for their own meaningful, beautiful piece.
Huge thanks to Annie, Rabbi Ariana Katz, and the whole congregation for inviting the JMM to participate in the process!
Collections jewish museum of maryland

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