Ceremonial Synagogue Textiles from Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Italian Communities

YANIV, Bracha (2019). Ceremonial Synagogue Textiles from Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Italian Communities, Liverpool: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization (originally written in Hebrew). ISBN 978-1-906764-18-0, hard back, fully illustrated in b/w and colour, pp. 472, bibliography, notes, index. Price: £65 (ex. postage).

The book is divided into three parts, namely (I) a general introduction to the use of textiles within a synagogue, including how they are used (Torah mantles, Torah wrappings, parokhets, and various covers for stands and lecterns). This section also includes detailed information about the range of textiles used, who made them and under what conditions, as well as technical information about embroidery and applied items such as passementerie.

The second section is a catalogue and looks at representative textiles from within the Portuguese, Sephardi, Ashkenazi and Italian Jewish communities. The third and final section is called Dedication of Ceremonial Objects, which discusses the inscriptions on the textiles and objects, and who commissioned various pieces and why.

Recommendation: This is a book that is primarily aimed at those who are specifically interested in Jewish textile and synagogue history and tradition. However, anyone interested in the history and use of religious textiles in Europe, especially embroidered forms, will find many interesting and though provoking details. Well worth having within a specialist library. 

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

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