Silk with applied materials
27 x 15 inches
A Torah mantle is a decorated cover that is used to protect the Torah from outside elements and also to call attention to the scroll as it is taken from the ark to the bimah to be read during services. The design of these mantles varies greatly depending on where and when they were made, but most of the mantles in the Museum’s collection are typical of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) design of the later 19th to mid-20th centuries.
During the early 1900s, congregants at the Eldridge Street Synagogue would have seen this mantle as the Torah was raised during services. It is inscribed with the congregation’s name, Kahal Adath Jeshurun with Anshe Lubtz, and its pale color suggests that it was made for use during the High Holidays. The decoration of this mantle differs a bit from the traditional Ashkenazi design because it features a menorah in the place usually reserved for the Ten Commandment tablets.
This Torah cover was likely mass-produced in one of the many Judaica workrooms on the Lower East Side. The embroidered congregation’s name and date would have been added after purchase. Commercially-produced textiles like this one do not often find their way into museum collections, but they are typical of what was used every day in the synagogues of the Lower East Side.
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