Jewish Historical Museum - Breastplate Torah and Arc

Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1, Amsterdam

The Jewish Historical Museum was officially opened on February 23, 1932. It was first established in a room on the upper floor of the Amsterdam Historical Museum. Minister-President Dr. W. Drees, reopened the museum in 1955. It was then established on the upper floor of the Waag. In 1975, it expanded and required the use of two whole floors. By then it was known that in due time the museum would use the four synagogues at the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein. The new museum opened on May 3, 1987.

The Jewish Historical Museum collects a variety of objects including art, which are in relation to the religion, culture and history of the Jews in the Netherlands and its former colonies. The collection includes more than 30,000 documents and pictures. Amongst these are more than 11,000 art, ceremonial and historical objects.


The pictures have been provided by kind courtesy of the Jewish Historical museum.




Each synagogue has a torah scroll. The Torah scroll is one on which the Jewish religious laws are written. The scroll is fixed on two sticks, decorated on top with two principal ornaments. A robe, the ‘Mantle of Law’, decorated by an ornamental breastplate often imaged with the tables on which the Ten Commandments are written, protects the scroll. Placed above all of this is a principal ornament, the ‘Crown of Law’, to emphasize the dignity of the scrolls. Everything is stowed in a special closet made for that purpose. It is called an arc or in Hebrew Aron hakodesj.


The pictures.

The breastplate shown here is made of silver, (1899).
God's name is written on the first line on the right.


The Mantle of Law is a cloth of fine linen, silk,
or other material decorated with symbols and texts.
Silver wire is often used for the embroidery and
the frill is finished with gold brocade sometimes embellished with precious stones.


This arc from 1791 was placed in an old Jewish synagogue.
The ‘Tablets of the Law’ are depicted on its front.
Above it is written Psalm 16 verse 8:

I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
(King James)

God's name is written in the middle of the text, inside an aureole.


In detail...




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