The Jewish calendar is lunisolar. The years are counted according to the Earth’s rotation around the Sun, while the Moon's motions are taken into account when determining the months.
On 10 September 2018 (according to the Jewish calendar, on the 1st of Tishrei), the 5779th Jewish year began. This is a conventional calculation based on biblical history. Its starting point is the creation of the world and, more specifically, the day on which Adam and Eve were created. The Bible does not give any dates, but often there is information on how long a given person lived or how old they were when they became a parent. This provided the basis for the estimated calculations of the years.
An interesting fact is that the month of Tishrei, in which the Rosh Hashanah festival is celebrated (literally meaning the "head of the year"), is not the first month in the Jewish calendar at all. Months are not named in the Torah (their names appear later), but they are numbered and the spring month of Nisan is described as the first, while Tishrei is the seventh month.
In the Jewish calendar, months are measured according to the cycles of the Moon and last 29 or 30 days. The birth of a new moon (Rosh Chodesh – literally the "head of the month") has the status of a half-holiday and is accompanied by additional prayers. The full moon always falls on the middle of the month.
We know who the “Righteous Among the Nations” are. We know for what kind of behaviour warrants being awarded this title, medal, diploma, the possibility of planting a tree in the Avenue of the Righteous (today there is no room for new trees, so a commemorative plaque is placed in the wall), and since 1995 – the honorary citizenship of the State of Israel. According to data published on the website of the Yad Vashem Institute in January 2013, there were already 24,811 people of non-Jewish origin who were recognized in this way. New ones keep on coming. Many will pass away before anyone discovers or recalls their often daring, “righteous” demeanour in unjust times. But, do we know where this term comes from? Does it reflect the nature of the behaviour at that time well? It is hard to doubt that it was righteous, but don’t you wonder about the origin of this expression? Why does it say “righteous” and not “good,” for example?
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.
According to a Jewish tradition, married women, but also divorcees and widows, should, as a sign of modesty (cnius), cover their hair in public places. This prescription is imposed in various forms. In orthodox environments, women still shave their heads and cover them with headscarves, called tichel, although according to Halakha (religious law) it is not necessary.
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.
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.
It is impossible to understand the customs, not only the religious ones, in Jewish culture, without turning back to the earliest history of the Jewish nation and ancient Israel. Many of those customs symbolically refer to the rituals performed in the Temple of Jerusalem; however, they follow them to a far more modest extent.
The Talmud is the most important compilation of the oral Torah, that was revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. It is a commentary, an explanation, and a discussion. Before the Talmud, there was the Mishnah, to which Talmud is an extension. There are two Talmuds—the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud—whose 1831 edition is presented in our collection. The process of editing the former was completed in the 4th century AD in Palestine, in the academies of Caesarea, Sepphoris, and Tiberias. The latter was completed a little later, at the beginning of the 6th century AD in Babylonia, in the academies of Sura, Nehardea, and Pumbedita. It is far more extensive than the Jerusalem Talmud.
One of the customs associated with the holiday Purim is sending each other gifts (mishloach manot), for which at least two portions of different delicacies are to be made. They may not require any additional treatment from the recipient; they must be suitable for immediate consumption.
The composition presents a young man with oriental facial features, emanating with sorrow and suffering. He is wearing a decorated dark robe, a royal diadem on his head, and a gold earring in his ear. The painting, in dark tones, was brightened with patches of amber colours for the fragments of the face and shoulders as well as with warm reds for the background.
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
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.
This unusual Hanukkah lamp was set on a wooden base, in the middle of which there is a small wall made of two planks, reinforced with another plank and a metal plaque on the back. To the front of the wall, a cast-iron chandelier is fixed.
A Jewish book belonging to a Chevra Kadisha funeral fraternity. It is a prayer book of the Ashkenazi rite (Nusach Ashkenaz). The Hebrew title of the book is Sidur Safa Berura ha-Shalom.
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.
The elongated rectangle of maroon velvet consisting of three rectangles sewn together: the largest embroidered one in the centre and two smaller ones attached on its sides, not embroidered. The decoration in a silver and gold-like hue fills in the surface of the central rectangle: a crown flanked by griffins-lions and vases with flowers. Above them, right at the upper edge, runs a one-line Hebrew inscription composed of four divided words:
כתר תורה “Crown of the Torah”
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.
Receipt of payment of laografia (head tax). In Roman times, Jews inhabited district IV in Apollinopolis Magna. The regular head tax in the 1st-2nd century was 16 drachmas a year. Receipt for payment of 8 drachmas (as in this document) or 4 drachmas are proof of the tax having been paid in installments.
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.