"The Eldridge Street synagogue…is an impressive representation of traditional Judaism, modified perforce by the spirit of the time and surroundings."

Century Magazine, 1892


Dressing the Torah

dressing crown

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Torah Crown

Date unknown, probably early–mid 20th century
Silver and silver filigree
18.5 x 12 (diameter) inches

A Torah crown is the most ornate part of a Torah’s dress. At its base
are two short rods that fit over the staves on which a Torah is rolled,
so that the crown rises above the scroll. The design and shape of a
Torah crown varies depending on where it was created. This crown has an
Eastern European design, with three tiers, and typically Polish filigree
detailing. The attached bells draw attention to the Torah as it is
lifted and carried during services. The bird at the top of the crown
could be a dove, released by Noah after the flood to find land and a
symbol of hope. Or it could be an eagle, one of four “holy animals” for
Jews or a reference—intentional or not—to the American icon.

This crown has the imprint of a Polish silversmith named Perlman
stamped onto its base. Although the Eldridge congregation included may
Polish immigrants who might have brought this crown from the old
country, experts believe the hallmark on this crown is a forgery, and is
likely an American copy of an Eastern European design. Torah silver
with similar designs was readily available in New York. An identical
Torah crown is advertised in an almanac published in 1941 by Meyer
Wolozin, who owned a Lower East Side Judaica store.

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