The Jewish Home

The house, or, in a wider sense, the Jewish home is the primary place where faith is nurtured and passed from generation to generation. When the practice of religion is not conditional on a sacred space or sanctified time, and dietary rules and ritual cleanliness weigh in equally as the prayers recited in the synagogues, then we understand that Judaism is not just a religion but a comprehensive lifestyle system. 


Mezuzah case, silver. In the Jewish household a small parchment scroll with some handwritten verses of the Holy Text has to be affixed to the right doorpost, in a small case. The location reminds us of the exodus from Egypt. According to the Book of Exodus before the tenth plague and the death of the first borns, the doorposts of the Jewish households were signed by the blood of the lambs eaten for dinner. And those houses were safe from the plagues. The mezuzah on the doorposts of Jewish homes reminds us of this story. Religious rules we can only find for the text, they are equally rigid as for the writing of the Torah. The case can be basically made of everything that is apt to protect the scroll from aging and becoming useless.


Mezuzah case, Óbuda, 1848. The mezuzah case was made by the Jewish craftsman from Óbuda, from silver wire, with sawying and filigree-work, which was the speciality of the Jewish craft from Óbuda. Ont he feudalistic Hungary Jews could not be guildsmen, thus they were excluded from most of the crafts: they could only do this job on two lordships with special, individual permission: in Bratislava, Vártelek and Óbuda. Salamon BÖHM was the member of the Jewish community of Óbuda.


Mezuzah case, Jerusalem, 1924. The yellow brass mezuzah case was made at the Becalel Academy, founded to initiate Jewish national art. The art of the Becalel Academy is famous for its ornamented Hebrew texts. The grid of the mezuzah case is created out of the ’Somer dalté Israel’ (the guard of God’s door) which abbreviation (SDI) is also a Saddaj name of God.


House blessing painted on glass. Hungary, the end of 19th Century


Majolika plate in wooden frame. In the plate the Sma Israel can be read.


Silver prayer book cover. Dessau, 1767.


Hand washing basin and a hand washing cup with two flappers. Waking up, the first thing religious Jews do is to wash their hands. Abundant water has to be poured three times on both hands from the cup with two flappers. Than the related prayers have to be recited.


Ornamented boxes to store Tfilin. Eastern-Europe, 19th Century.


Prayer book. Every day prayer book with the rules of cicit (prayer bunch), tallit (prayer showl) and the tfilin (prayer belt), prayers, psalms, handwritten family notes. The volume published in 1765 is left for us in silver ornamented leather cover.


Prayer showl. Men wear the prayer showl during the praying. At the part put to the forhead there is silver embroidery (atara), on the four corners, perfectly knot cicits.


Cup. Silky hat for men decorated with golden snitsches, which used to be worn by the Chief Rabbi Fleissig in Vienna.


Headscarf for women with silver snitches, Hungary, 19th Century


Menwear ornament scrolled with cotton made out of silver wire, which used to decorate a tallit. Womenwear was made with similar techniques (spanyer). Eastern-Europe, 19th Century.


Binding board for the printed version of the five books of Moses. Italy, around 1700.


Despite the strong biblical opposition to magic and divination, certain items that were believed to protect the owner played a role in popular religion. In the text centric Jewish tradition, amulets and cameos contain details of sacred texts or, alternatively, a letter or an abbreviation invoking transcendental protection or healing.


The special accessory of the Sefard Jewish womenwear of the Balkans: an amulett-case wore in the neck. It can be opened, and Hebrew scrolls can be placed inside.


Book-shape amulett-case: silver filigreework, with the inscription 'Sadar' (Unbegotten) on its top.

An amulett also possible to be worn as a neclace. Between two columns a Hebrew 'he' letter can be seen on it, as the abbreviation of the four letter name for God.


Ball-shape amulett. Inside the bone-ball we can see carven Biblical sceen. Frace, 18th Century.


Pipe. Pipe curved from Cidrus. Made in Jerusalem, 19th century.


Kosher stamp/typaria. One of the fundamental rules of Jewish life is to comly with the rules on eating. What can we eat, after what kind of preparation and when is under rules. The strictest rules are related to meats and whine. To sign the kosher food different kind of stamps are used, to show which rabbi controlled the process. The stamp of the communty of Keszthely is from the 18th century.

Kosher stamp/typaria. The stamp of the kosher butchery from Dombóvár.


Stamp. It is used to close the package of food. On the little leaden seals, the inscription ’kosher’ can be read.


Embroidery-pattern. Among young girls embroidery patterns became popular int he 18th century showcasing mostly letters, numbers, several fugural ornaments. Similar patterns showed not only the girls’ professionality in embroidery, but also their educatedness: since to prepare the patterns, the knowledge of the alphabet was necessary. On the exhibited cross stich embroidery pattern beside the latin tetters we can also see ghotic letters (used for German texts), and a Hebrew line as well. The creator is unknown, we only know the monogram (D.M.), and the date (1866). Thus the girl also creted a monument with this embroidery for her taste, education and skilfulness.


The German language Siddur, covered in an embroidered cover was the praying book of a today unknown young woman. The subtle silk embroidery is most probably handmade. Her portrait can be seen ont he inner cover, so we can know that she must have been a women of fashion int he 1870s.


An every day prayer book with a vitrified, silver, hammering monogramm, in a leather cover. Budapest, 1899.


Prayer book, Tfilat haderech, 1763


The money-box of the Nér Tamid association from Nagykanizsa (Vienna, 1854). The maintaince of teh Jewish institutions was the role of the community members. The rabbi, the teacher, the kosher butcher, the inspector of ritual institutions and of course the furniture of the synagogues were paied from the synagogue taxes. In the town of Nagykanizsa, a separate association, the Nér Amid covered the furniture and the maintainance of the synagogue. The donation was collected in a money boksz, decorated with the picture of the synagogue’s eternal fame.