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Material Culture in Judaism

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Shamma Boyarin

on 11 September 2018

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Transcript of Material Culture in Judaism

Material Culture in Judaism
From the Temple to the Synagogue:
What is the Western Wall?
The visible remnant of the Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple Complex at it most elaborate.
The Temple served as the
center of the Jews.
From ca. 486 BCE to 70CE
Second Temple
And before that from ca. 950BCE-587BCE
First Temple
In the year 70 CE the Temple was destroyed by the Romans.
On the one hand tradition had provided a way to explain this destruction:
God was punishing his people for breaking the
More on this in the Scripture unit.
On the other hand the destruction of the Temple in 70CE caused a profound crises leading to major changes. Judaism (as we know) is the result of this crises and changes.
One of them was the rise of the Synagogue as the liturgical center.
What does the word
The Changing meaning of the word "synagogue":
A. Originally means "community"- the synagogue of Jerusalem- the community of Jerusalem.
B. Comes to refer to the building where the community gathers for important events.
C. The synagogue begins to function as a place of worship even before the destruction of the Temple in 70CE.
"Here lies Salome, daughter of Gadia, father of the Synagogue of the Hebrews." (Jewish Catacombs in Rome. after 62 CE)
D. Around the third century, the synagogue begins to emerge as a replacement for the Temple
Elements of some ancient synagogues:
Wall painting from Dura Europos (mid 3rd century CE)
Zodiac mosaic from Beth Alpha 5th century
Torah ark and lamp mosaic, Beit Alpha (6th Century CE)
Torah Niche Lintel, Nabratin synagogue 3-4th century CE.
Elements that serve to articulate the synagogue as a replacement for the Temple
A. the term mikdash me'at= lesser Temple.
B. Orientation= direction of prayer towards Jerusalem.
C. Synagogue decoration makes reference to the Temple- typically the lamp.
D. prayer conceived of as the liturgical equivalent of sacrifice
(more on this in
Worship and Ritual
Central components of the synagogue:
Torah Arks
Dura Europos
Synagogue in Fez
Synagogue in Wlodawa
Bimah and Tevah
at center
at front
Circa 1866-70
Circa 1985
Modernized version from 1948
Congregation Emanu El
and the History of Jewish Victoria
Congregation Emanuel
1461 Blanshard St
the Snyagogue and Diaspora
Diaspora comes from the Greek word meaning exile.
Like the destruction of the Temple, the Jewish Diaspora was understood as punishment for not living according to the terms of the Covenant.
Where as the one Temple stood as a unfying element for the Jews by providing a central focul point, the syngogue provided a differnt way of unifying- by not being central.
Synagogue arcitecture has been deeply influenced by the arcitectural norms of the places and times Jews found themselves- this is another aspect of diaspora.
The terms of the relationship between God and the Jews.
If the Jews live up to their obligations God will reward them.
And if not?
They are punished.
Aben Danan Synagouge, 17th century
18th Century
Beth Sholom in Phildalephia
designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The rituals and prayers that connect a given religious community to their god(s)
Unit 1: Material Culture
Why did God establish a covenant with the Jews? (Hint: think about Friday's lecture).
A quick note about dates:
BCE= Before the Common Era
CE= Common Era
Current Year= 2018 CE
32BCE=2500 years ago
32CE=1986 years ago
AD= Anno Domini= Year of Our Lord
BC=Before Christ
(Jesus was actually born in the year 4 BCE)
The Bimah and Torah Ark
View from the Bimah
First Jews arrived with the Gold Rush of 1858
Cornerstone Laid June 1862
Opened September
1892 the Hall and Hebrew School are built
In the late 70s and early 80s there is a move to reste the building to its original form
In 2003 the old hall and school were redone to the way they are now
in 2012 the synagouge celebrated 150 years of continuous use
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