"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


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See another Torah wimpel:


c. 1803
Polished linen with applied paint
8.75 x 137.5 inches
Gift of Adriana Baker and Family, 2009

Wimpels are a unique kind of Torah binder that also have a very
special personal meaning. They are made by an infant boy’s mother after
his bris (religious circumcision) and then used at life-cycle events as he grows. This wimpel was made for a boy named David who was
born on November 15, 1803, making it one of the oldest artifacts in the
Museum’s collection. David’s mother cut the cloths used during his bris
into strips and stitched them together to form this scroll, which is
more than eleven feet long. On it she painted the words of a Hebrew
blessing asking that God grant that her son be “raised in the paths of
the Torah and be escorted to the wedding canopy and good deeds.” She
decorated the wimpel with flowers, trees and animals, and an image of
the Torah.

When David reached age 13, the wimpel would have been used to bind
the Torah at his bar mitzvah, and later when he married, it would be
draped upon the chuppah (wedding canopy), a scene his mother
painted on the cloth with great love, if not great skill. This wimpel
had been kept in David’s family for more than two hundred years, until
it was donated to the Museum by his descendants.

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