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(VII) Img. ID: 22373 Torah finials , , Egypt, 1875-1925? edit  
Category: Sacred and Ritual Objects

General Document

2 Name/Title Torah finials | Unknown
3a Object Torah finials
3b Object Detail
4a Artist/ Maker Unknown (Unknown)
5 Date 1875-1925?
5a Activity Dates
5b Reconstruction Dates
6 Period Kingdom of Egypt (Fuad I)
6a Period Detail
7 Origin Egypt
8 Community North African | Mugrhabim (North African Jews)
9 Collection Egypt | Sc_260
| 24
9a Documentation / Research project Unknown
10 Location Unknown|
11 Site Unknown
12 School/Style North African, Egypt
Italian influence|
13 Iconographical Subject Sanctuary Implements
High priest |
14 Category
17 Photographer Radovan, Zev
18 Photograph Date 1983
19 Negative/ Photo. No.
19a Scan No.
20 Description

The tower-shaped Torah finial consists of a shaft, a body, and an apex.
The cylindrical shaft is mounted over a raised, round base. A Hebrew dedicatory inscription is engraved on each of the shafts, written in square outlined letters. It reads:

"קהל קדוש די זרד"ל קדמונא"

"(Dedicated to the) Holy congregation of the Old Zaradel (synagogue)." (See: Remarks).

A hemispherical base supports the tower-shaped body, formed of seven open-worked facets, in two tiers. The lower tier is surrounded by an arcade, while the upper has rectangular openings on which Sanctuary Implements are attached in pairs (fig. 1): a cluster of grapes and the Tablets of the Covenant, the High Priest's mitre and an incense burner, the hoshenand the altar of burning, a cluster of grapes and the altar of incense, the basin and the priestly garments, a missing implement and a five-branched menorah, two hands in a priestly blessing and the altar of burning.    
A round cupola decorated with a whorl of leaves radiating from the centre and topped by a bud-shaped apex, surmounts the tower. Bells are suspended from holes pierced around the tower's bottom edges.

21 Ornamentation
22 Custom
23 Contents
24 Codicology
24a Scribes
24b Script
24c Number of Lines
24d Ruling
24e Pricking
24f Quires
24g Catchwords
24h Hebrew Numeration
24i Blank Leaves

25 Material/Technique
25a Material Structure cast, raised, chased
25b Material Decoration cast
25c Material Bonding soldered
25d Material Inscription engraved
25e Material Additions
25f Material Cloth
25g Material Lining
25h Tesserae Arrangement
25i Density
25j Colors
25k Construction Material

26 Measurements
26a Height 220 mm
26b Length
26c Width
26d Depth
26e Circumference
26f Thickness
26g Diameter 60 mm
26h Weight
26i Axis
26j Panel Measurements
27 Direction/Location
27a Façade (main)
27b Entrances
27c Location of Torah Ark
27d Location of Apse
27e Location of Niche
27f Location of Reader's Desk
27g Location of Platform
27h Temp: Architecture Axis
27i< Arrangement of Seats
27j Location of Women's Section
27k Direction Prayer
27l Direction Toward Jerusalem

28 Coin
28a Coin Series
28b Coin Ruler
28c Coin Year
28d Denomination

29 Signature
30 Colophon
31 Scribal Notes
32 Watermark
33 Hallmark
33a Group
33b Subgroup
33c Hallmark Identification
33d Hallmark Group Classification
33e Hallmark Reference
34 Trade Mark
35 Binding
36 Decoration Program

The tower-shaped body is encircled by Sanctuary Implements and foliate motifs.

36 Summary and Remarks
The type of Torah finials common in Egypt during the 20th century is a cylindrical object, considered to be the characteristic Egyptian type (see: Sc.258- 5 the finials topping the case). However, this frequently seen design probably developed only in the end of the 19th century and does not reflect the earlier types of finials characteristic to the Egyptian communities. This tower-shaped finial is part of a group of Egyptian finials that attests to an earlier visual tradition, common to the North Africans communities. The finials shaped as prismatic towers, formed of lace-like openwork, resemble mostly the finials originating in Tunisia and Libya. A comparison between them reveals a mutual shape and decoration, although each features a particular local style. A large group of finials shaped as towers were originally dedicated to a now destroyed synagogue named Abu Zaradel in Alexandria. According to an archival photo (Archive of the Jewish Community in Alexandria) showing a dedicatory plaque, the synagogue was built in 1381 by Judah son of Saul the Sephardi Abu Isaac. In 1881 the synagogue went through renovations, which changed it completely. The Spanish origins of the founder (Saul the Sephardi), does not testify to the identity of the congregation who prayed in the synagogue during later periods. Dedications inscribed on other ritual objects donated to the Zaradel synagogue reveal that some of them were of North African origin, known as Mugrhabim, as the finial donated by Jacob Zuaris and his sons, who originated from Guarish (Gawarish) in Libya (Sc. 260-32). It is possible that this type was presented to the local tradition by the Jews who immigrated to Egypt and established there a community, known as the Mugrhabim (see: Bibliography). The finial described above differs from the others in this tower-shaped group, mainly by the Sanctuary Implements attached to it. The shape of the tower and especially the Implements may attest to a Tunisian tradition. Implements decorating finials were introduced to the Tunisian tradition with the Italian Jews who lived in Tunis and established a community there, known as “the Leghorns” - those who came from Leghorn, in north Italy (see: Sc_96-21; Sc_260-24). An Italian translation added to the original 1381 dedication, bears witness to an Italian Jewish congregation in the Zaradel synagogue. It is possible that with the emigration of Italian Jews to Egypt, a similar process of influence as occurred in Tunis, also took place in Egypt. Yet, it is also possible that this type was brought by the Mugrhabim.
38 Suggested Reconstruction
39 History/Provenance
The finials were originally donated to the Old Zaradel synagogue in Alexandria, however in the beginning of the 20th century they were transferred with other ritual objects to another synagogue, where it was documented.
40 Main Surveys & Excavations
41 Condition
42 Biography
43 Bibliography
Amar, Ariella. The Ritual Objects of the Egyptian Jews. In Egypt, Edited by Nahem Ilan, Jewish Communities in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Jerusalem: Ministry of Education and Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East of Yad Yizhak Ben-Zvi and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2007. In print. In Hebrew. Ben Sasson, Menahem. The Emergence of the Local Jewish Community in the Muslim World Qayrawan, 800-1057. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, 1996. In Hebrew. Bornstein-Makovetzky, Lea. The Community and its Institutions. In The Jews in Ottoman Egypt (1517-1914), edited by Landau Jacob M., 129-217. Jerusalem: Misgav Yerushalaim, 1988. In Hebrew. Grafman, Rafi, ed. 50 Rimonim: A Selection of Torah Finials from a European Family Collection. Tel-Aviv: Tel-Aviv University, The Judaica Museum, The Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center, 1998. In English and Hebrew. Toledano, Jacob Moses. Batei haknesiot ha-atikim be-alexandria u-svivoteiha (The old synagogues in Alexandria and its surroundings). In HUCA XII-XIII (1937-1938), 701-714. In Hebrew. Sothebys, Important Judaica. Tel-Aviv, 15.4.1998.
43a Short Name
43b Full Name
43c Volume
43d Page

44 Type
45 Temp: Batch Number
0094 | 035
46 Temp: Aleph Number
47 Temp: Sys. Number / Doc. Name
48 Temp: Addenda

Function: Name: Date:
49 Documenter Rina Ben Yair (Talgam) 06.84 49a
50 Researcher Ariella Amar 06.06 50a
51 Architectural Drawings 51a
52 Computer Reconstruction 52a
53 Section Head Ariella Amar 06.06 53a
54 Editor Judith Cardozo 06.07 54a
55 Donor UNESCO 55a