Copyright/attribution: Jewish Museum London
What do you see?
We can see a book on an open table. We also see a candelabra with many branches. Look closely, what do you see?
What do we know?
This is a print of the inside of the Merthyr Tydfil Synagogue. It was made by Olwen Hughes and was part of a collection of 18 prints or lithographs of different Welsh Synagogues. The Merthyr Tydfil Synagogue was founded in the 1870s and was known as the Merthyr Tydfil Hebrew Congregation. The synagogue was in use until 1983 when it closed as the Jewish community had moved elsewhere.
In this drawing we can see a book which is open on the Bimah, a raised platform in the synagogue where the Torah is read out loud each week on a Saturday morning. In front of the Bimah, hidden by a curtain is the Ark, or Aron Ha’Kodesh, meaning ‘Holy cupboard.’ Every synagogue in the world has an Ark which is where the Torah scrolls are kept when they are not in use.
On the Ark curtain we can see some common Jewish symbols such as a Star of David, and the lions of Judah holding up the Ten Commandments.
What do you wonder?
We might wonder why this drawing was made? We also might wonder how many synagogues there are in Wales today? What do you wonder?
What might you hear inside a synagogue?
How is an Orthodox Synagogue different from a Reform Synagogue?