Judaica

The Judaic Collection of the Museum of Arts and Crafts is one of the few collections of Jewish religious objects both existing in Croatia today and open to the public. These are objects that are primarily related to rites in the synagogue or at home, or are of a profane character and yet are related to Jewish culture and tradition from the 17th to the 20th century.

The central place in the display goes to a display case with objects on view meant for synagogue rituals. They are grouped around a Torah, consisting of a scroll of parchment wrapped around wooden rods and tied up around them with a textile band or wimples. A scroll bound with a wimple has a textile covering – the meil (covering of the Torah), and over it is a silver Tas (Torah shield), in which plaques with names of holy days are alternated. Over the meil comes a yad, the Torah pointer, shaped like a hand with which the text is shown and touched. Over the Torah are the appropriate decorations of the Kitray Torah (Torah crown) and the rimonim (adornments to handles of the rollers).

In other display cases the objects are grouped by function: Chanukah lamps, besamims (spice towers), tefilins or phylacteries, Seder dishes, Kos haberaha (glasses for blessings over the wine).

There are various types of Chanukah lamps on display, lights for Chanukah, festival of light, among which there are some that are freestanding, which recall the seven armed candlestick or menorah and benchform type with the back wall.

From the relatively large museum collection of spice towers, it is mostly specimens from the 19th century. These spice towers, hadas or besamim, are essential requisites related to the Saturday night closing rite, Havdalah. They are on the whole made of silver in very diverse forms, the most common being the Gothic turret. One of the preserved objects from domestic workshops is an egg stand for Seder dinner from the first half of the 19th century made by Henrik Wolgemuth in about 1820 in Zagreb.

Most of the objects on show are made of silver and pewter, and a smaller number consists of silvered objects and those of base metals. Diversity of materials, heterogeneity of forms and motifs tell of the means of the purchaser, but also of the continued connection of Jewish culture with the stylistic changes that have taken place in central Europe.