Shabbat Table – Challah Cover

Object number

F. Moore

F. Moore

Object Information

The image shows a table laid out ready to celebrate two important festivals. The first is the festival of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the second is Shabbat, the weekly day of rest. On the occasions where this happens, Shabbat continues as normal, despite the festival. The only exception is Yom Kippur, the day of Repentance, which is so important that Shabbat is postponed to a later day.

In the foreground is a hand-sewn and embroidered cloth, which covers two unseen loaves of ‘challah’ bread. Challah is holy bread used during Shabbat, and is kept covered until it can be blessed and eaten. If we look closer, we can see that Felix has carefully hand stitched beautiful depictions of the ‘Seven Species’ into their cover. The Seven Species include wheat, barley, grape, fig, pomegranates, olives and dates, and are listed in the Torah as the ideal produce to bring to the ancient Jewish Temple as an offering. With associations of life, rebirth and sustenance, these objects are popular as motifs to decorate many Jewish ritual objects.

This object shows the variety of Judaism and that every Jewish person can have different relationships with their faith and practice. Felix for example is a trans person who is a member of a Liberal Jewish Community. Liberal Judaism emphasises the importance of adapting Judaism to modern times and accepts people from all backgrounds. This Challah cover represents Felix’s deep connection with Judaism, whilst also their desire to practice in a way that is meaningful and beautiful to them.

Hear from the donor

How does this image represent your Jewish identity?

‘I don’t have any Jewish family heirlooms, so I’m making my own.’

Why is this image important to you?

‘It’s something I hope to pass down through my family.’

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