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Painting “Jews” by Piotr Michałowski

The group portrait of the Galician Jews belongs to the late works by Piotr Michałowski (1800—1855). It was created in a time when the artist — treating painting as a hobby — managed the estate in Bolestraszyce near Przemyśl. This painting, being actually an oil study, is similar in character to the 17th-century Dutch portraits. From the dark, abstract space busts of five Jews emerge.

Jewish wedding ring

The ring was purchased for the museum collection in 1998 in one of the antique shops in Sącz. According to the owner of the shop, the ring was found among other objects hidden in one of the houses in Nowy Sącz during the war. The exhibit has a great historical value, as only a few similar objects could be found in Polish museum collections.

Torah scroll

The parchment scroll containing text of the Five Books of Moses, i.e. the Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy was hand-written in Hebrew, rolled onto two sticks; the so-called ace(i) chaim [shafts of life] made of oak wood was furnished at the ends with pairs of wooden plates with a diameter of 17.5 cm, and handles for rolling the scrolls. The handles are profiled, with a head decorated with ivory buttons in the upper part and an ivory sleeve at the bottom.

Esther’s scroll in a cover

Megilla it's a parchment scroll with a Hebrew manuscript of the Book. It was designed for individual reading at home and in a synagogue in the period of the early spring holiday of Purim.

Jewish tin plate

This plate could have been used on the Sabbath or, more likely, during the Purim holiday celebrated in the month of Adar, which symbol is fish, used as an decoration motif in this exhibit.

Hanukkah synagogal candelabrum

Candelabrum, synagogal, nine-branched. Supported on a flat base, tapering in a bell-like shape to the top. A multi-levelled stem, finely profiled, with four pairs of branches fixed in the sockets cut in its flat elements. The branches are slightly flattened, curved and finished with a trifoliate at the bottom.

Hanukkah lamp

Chanukah — the eight-day Jewish festival of lights – in its historical aspect commemorates the victorious Maccabean Revolt against the Greeks under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, whereas in its ethical aspect refers to the salvation of Judaism, the only existing monotheistic religion based on the coherent system of moral values in the 2ndcentury BC.

Hanukkah lamp

It was probably created at the turn of the 20th century. Its base rests on three lying lions. The profiled stem is finished with a figure of an eagle with outspread wings. Eight semi-circular branches are attached to the stem with clips.

Hanukkah lamp

The eight-branched candelabrum made in honour of the Hanukkah festival – the victorious Maccabean Revolt. The festival – recorded in the books of Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) – is over 2,000 years old.

Torah mantle (Meil) from the synagogue in Szumsk near Krzemieniec

The cover in the form of an elongated rectangle was hand-sewn of a fabric with a tiny geometrical and floral design. On the obverse, in the cartouche, taking on the form of a laurel wreath, there is an embroidered donative inscription which reads: זנ | אשה צנועה | מרת הינדא ז”ל | בת הרב המ הג’ | מ’ שמואל כץ שנ’ | תעג לפק

Copy of the Maurycy Gottlieb's painting “Shylock and Jessica” by Marcin Gottlieb

The image is a copy of a picture by Maurycy Gottlieb (1856—1879), made by his younger brother Marcin Gottlieb (1867—1936) eight years after the artist’s death. The original was created in Munich in 1876, as a school work painted under the supervision of Professor Carl Piloty, who had suggested the subject to the artist.

Sculpture “Portrait Study”

The sculpture was made after 1900 by the artist-sculptor Henryk Hochman, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, a disciple of Florian Cynk and Konstanty Laszczka. Hochman continued his education in the workshop of August Rodin in Paris.

Spice container from Austro-Hungary

A container for fragrant spices (e.g., clove, cinnamon, vanilla, myrtle), the aroma of which is ritually inhaled during the ceremony called Havdalah (in Hebrew: separation) held in Jewish houses at the end of Shabbat.

Besamin tower box from Vienna

The container for fragrant spices (e.g. clove, cinnamon, vanilla, myrtle), the aroma of which is ritually inhaled during the ceremony called Havdalah (in Hebrew: separation) is held in Jewish houses at the end of Shabbat. The base is in the form of a square frame. The stem has four rods fastened with four elliptic medallions.

Etrog tin

An etrog tin in the shape of a pomegranate with three leaves, oxidised and open in the middle. The exhibit presumably belonged to rich Jews, as only they could afford such a decorated, silver container, used to carry the etrog to a synagogue on the holiday of Sukkot.

Manuscript “The privilege of Stanisław Koniecpolski for Jews from Tarnów” with a seal

Jewish settlements in Poland began during the period of the Piast dynasty and increased in the 14th-16th centuries. At first, Jews settled in larger towns, in search of better living conditions. The first Jews arrived in Tarnów in the mid-15th century. The proof of this is the mention of Kafel, a Jew, which can be found in the court files of Lviv from 1445.

Jewish wedding ring

The Jewish wedding ring was purchased in 1985 in “Desa”. Its owner is unknown. The ring is decorated with a floral motif and a Jewish inscription, Mazel Tov [Good luck]. It is topped with a model of a building — a symbolic depiction of the buildings in Jerusalem.

Megillat Esther binding

The Megillat Esther binding is a case for storing a parchment scroll of the Book of Esther. The Biblical Book of Esther tells the story of how Esther, the wife of the Persian King Ahasuerus, thwarted the plans of Minister Haman aiming to annihilate the Jews who inhabited the Persian Empire. To commemorate these events, on the 14th and 15th day of the month of Adar the Jews celebrate the joyful holiday of Purim.

Bond Committee for the Construction of the New Synagogue in Tarnów

The document was issued by the Committee for the Construction of New Synagogue in Freunds Druckerei in Breslau in the autumn of 1864. The bond amount is 50 Austrian guilders, and it was issued in the name of Zelig Offner. Exactly 44 years separate the date of the bond issuing and the moment when the New Synagogue was opened, which took place on the 18th of September 1908. The grand opening of the magnificent building, which is the pride of the Jews of Tarnów, was preceded by an excruciatingly long period of several decades when the walls were built slowly.

Mezuzah

A mezuzah is a small oblong container made mostly of metal or wood, containing a parchment rolled into a scroll (klaf) on which two passages of the Torah, from the Book of Deuteronomy, are written by hand in Hebrew.