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Ceremonial Objects

Two Torah finials in silver with emblems in colored acrylic

Torah rimonim with symbols of the twelve tribes of Israel, silver and acrylic, Kurt J. Matzdorf (born 1922), New Paltz, New York 1981
© Jewish Museum Berlin

The ceremonial objects collection documents German-Jewish history and culture through ritual and daily life objects, which reflect German-Jewish life from the past to the present day.

The museum’s ceremonial art collection is comprised of representative ritual objects in a wide range of media, including textiles, works on paper and metalwork. The collection includes some comparative works from other countries and features a growing selection of contemporary ritual items. The breadth of craftsmanship ranges from ornate examples of 18th century German silversmithing to simple modern folk art. At the core of the more than 1300 objects is a private ceremonial art collection, acquired from cantor Zvi Sofer in 1985.

Another collection’s focus is the mass production of Jewish ritual objects in the late 19th–20th centuries by principally non-Jewish German firms, many centered in Hanau. A photographic documentation has been made of over 500 drawings, models and other material relating to Hanau production, as well as a documentary film of the production process.


Michal S. Friedlander
Curator for Judaica and Applied Arts
Tel: +49 (0)30 259 93 511
Fax: +49 (0)30 259 93 409

We also collect items which express Jewish continuity after 1945, either in Germany or abroad. These objects reflect change, innovation or renewal in Jewish life, such as a wedding canopy made for use in a Displaced Person’s camp, or our collection of contemporary Hanukkah and Christmas objects which raises questions of Jewish identity and ritual observance today.

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