OBJECTS

Aboda Zarah

This is the name of a treaty in the Talmud. This piece of work is a replica published in 1957. The original is at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. It was completed in Ubeda at the end of 1290 by Shelomo ben Shaul ben-Albagli.

Torah

The Torah is the most sacred of the holy writ. Its principles set the standards of life in Jewish communities and without these principles, it would be impossible for the people of Israel to have survived for so many years. The 5 books of the Torah contain the story – from the creation of the world to the death of Moses.

The ancient form of the Torah – a roll of leather strips supported by two axes (called “soul” ,,alma“) – which can be rotated in order to be read – are kept in the synagogue. The Torah is made manually and both the preparation of the skin, as well as its writing are created in line with an established set of guidelines that specify, for example, how much distance should be between each line, word and letter. The Klaf, or pieces of skin, are sewn with the veins of kosher animals.

Amulet of Kabbalah

The Kabbalah (Jewish Qabbalah, ‘to receive’) is a discipline and school of Jewish esoteric thinking. lt uses various methods, more or less arbitrarily, to analyse hidden meanings of the Torah (the holy Jewish text, which Christians call the Pentateuch, and which represents the first five books of the Christian Bible).

Blood Cleaning

It was a legal instrument, sometimes approved by the Pope and others by Kings, by which during the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries the descendants of Jews and penitentiates of the Inquisition were excluded from many territories in Spain, believing them infamous and not firm in the Faith. To verify the cleanliness of a person’s faith, the Cabildo appointed a commissioner to request a copy of the baptismal certificate to certify the age of the suitor and his family. Then, after hearing several witnesses, whose statements used to refer only to the public voice or fame, it was shown that they had “clean blood”, that is, that their ancestors were always Catholic. The document in the Synagogue of the Water is dated 1570 in Úbeda by the Commissary of the Holy Office (the Inquisition) Fernando Ortega, Major Chaplain of the Sacred Chapel of the Savior.

Pointer

Since it is forbidden to touch the Torah, a stick is used in orderto read it. On one end is a hand with an index finger which points to the text being read. It can be made of wood, silver or other materials.

Mezuzah

This is the symbol that identifies a Jewish house. It consists of a small tube or box of various materials (wood, silver, ivory etc.) which contains different prayers written on a ,,klaf“‘. It is placed on the right-hand side of the entrance to Jewish homes and Jewish places and tilted diagonally to one side. This is a rule specified in the Bible, Deuteronomy (Devarim) VI, verses 4 to 9 and chapter XI, verses 13 to 21, where it says My words have to be written on the entrance of your house and your cities “. There is a custom regarding the Mezuzah that occurs when a Jew leaves or returns home. He places his hand over the Mezuzah and says, “God will look after my departure and my return, now and forever.”

Menorah

This consists of a candelabra with seven arms and is one of the oldest symbols of Judaism. This candelabra or Menorah was made in a desert, as is told in the text of the Torah. lt was in the tabernacle but later taken to the sanctuary of Shiloh and then moved to the Temple of Jerusalem, built by King Solomon. Menorah is attributed to different symbols, one being the seven days of creation. In the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), it symbolises the tree of life. lt is forbidden to make an exact replica of the one that used to be in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Meil

The sheath of the Torah is usually made of velvet or satin and embroidered with ornamental Jewish motives or verses.

Phylacteries/Tefilin

This is one of the oldest symbols of Judaism. It consists of two leather cubes that contain four fragments of the Torah and a leather cord or ribbon with which to hold them, one on the left arm and the other wrapped around the head. Following their Bar Mitzvah, males use the phylacteries to pray on weekday mornings (Shacharit). They are written on by a scribe. The skin used for the leather boxes and the cord or ribbon must come from a pure (kosher) animal, as with the Klaf. The phylacteries are revised every seven years to make sure they remain appropriate and to ensure they have not been damaged or the letters erased..

Pieces for the Purim Feast

The Scroll of Esther and gragger – The feast of Purim is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated annually on the 14th of the Jewish month 0fAdar (February-March) in order to commemorate the miracle recounted in the Book of Esther. During this month, Jews were saved from extermination under the rule of the Persian King Ahasuerus, identified by some historians as Xerxes I, around 450 B.C.

In spite of the fact that Purim is considered one of the happiest days in the Jewish calendar, Jews are required to fast and pray the day before, in memory of the Persian Jews who fasted to save themselves from an imminent conflict, which could have led to their extermination by Haman and his followers in the army of the Persian Empire.

During Purim they read the Megillah Scroll /“The Book of Esther.” This reading is performed at high speed and the listeners must make noise with graggers or other objects every time the name of Hamanis is read, so as not to hear the name. This makes it possible for children to be involved in the reading.

Parojet

This is a richly decorated veil or curtain covering the hole or niche where the holy books known as Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark) are stored.

Circumcision

Circumcision is the first commandment given by God to Abraham, the first Jew, and is a central part of Judaism. The ritual takes place in the synagogue on the eighth day of birth, at which time the child is formally given his name.