50 Objects: 'Religious Life'

The museum has an outstanding collection of religious objects, with some key examples originating from Britain. The oldest is a mikveh (ritual bath) dating from the 13th century. Valuable and beautiful silver ritual objects dating from the 17th and 18th centuries hold connections to prominent individuals and founding synagogues, while more humble items reflect the importance of faith in everyday life.

Circumcision Set from Exeter

This circumcision set dates from the late 18th century. It was probably used by a mohel (a person trained to perform circumcisions) in Exeter and the surrounding area.

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Moses Montefiore Mizrach

Scagliola tablet, part of a wall decoration in the estate of Moses Montefiore in Ramsgate. Montefiore was a prominent 19th century British Jewish leader and activist for worldwide Jewish causes.

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Polish Bonnet

Bonnet belonging to a Jewish woman who migrated from the village of Nowy Dwor in Poland to Wales in the late 19th or early 20th century. She would have worn the bonnet over a sheitel, a wig traditionally worn by orthodox Jewish women to cover their hair.

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Russian Vapour Baths

Metal sign was used to advertise the Russian Vapour Baths in Brick Lane. These baths were more popularly known as ‘Schewzik’s’, after their owner Benjamin Schewzik

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Hanukah Lamp

Oldest cample of an English-made Hanukah lamp (dating from 1709) made for Elias Lindo on the occasion of his marriage, by the silversmith John Ruslen

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Medieval Mikveh

Mikveh dated from mid-13th century, discovered on a building site in London in 2001. It was built in the home of the Crespin family.

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Offertory Book from the Great Synagogue

This register, dating from the 18th century, records Sabbath donations made to the Great Synagogue in London. The Great Synagogue was founded in 1692 at Duke’s Place in the City of London but was destroyed by bombing during World War II

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