Kurt J. Matzdorf's Torah Ornaments: Modern Interpretations of Traditional Symbols

From Our Holdings

Torah ornaments such as this Torah breastplate (Hebrew: tas), and the Torah finials (Hebrew: rimonim) express the great respect and honor given to the Torah scroll. A Torah scroll is only uncovered for the reading in the synagogue, and is otherwise clothed in an often elaborately embroidered mantle. Indeed, the Torah is the divine revelation to the nation of Israel and is considered the word of God.

Silver, Gold, and Acrylic

The creator of these works of art, Kurt J. Matzdorf, is an artist known for his modern interpretations. He broke new ground not only in form, but also in his choice of materials. Alongside the classic materials of silver and gold, he used colored acrylic for his Judaica. Notwithstanding this contemporary approach, Matzdorf frequently incorporates traditional symbols as he does here. The nation of Israel has twelve tribes, each with its own emblem, such as a basket for the tribe of Levi. Matzdorf also used the symbol of a stylized pomegranate. The pomegranate symbolizes life and fertility in Judaism and the Hebrew word for the Torah finials stems from the Hebrew for pomegranate, rimon.

(5) Selected Objects from the Judaica Collection Alle anzeigen

Selected Objects from the Judaica Collection

Hanukkah Toys

Traditionally, the Jewish festival of lights doesn’t involve presents. But like Christmas, Hanukkah too is increasingly commercialized, and there is already color-coded gift wrap in the US.

Purim Costume

This costume of the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, should have been a top seller for Purim. But then a tragic accident occurred.

Scouring Pads

“No more kitchen confusion!” Three color-coded scrub brushes from the US make it easier to keep track of Jewish dietary rules.

Torah Ornaments by Kurt Matzdorf

The artist Kurt J. Matzdorf is known for his modern interpretations. Alongside the classic materials of silver and gold, he used colored acrylic for his Judaica.

Torah Curtain Donated by the Mendelssohns

Moses and Fromet Mendelssohn commissioned a Torah curtain, probably using the fabric from Fromet's wedding dress, and donated it to a synagogue in Berlin in 1774–75.

Applied Arts

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Kurt J. Matzdorf

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Torah

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