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
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.