NOT AN INSANE GAME OF TWISTER
This card, which might look more like the spinner for the most intense game of Twister ever. However, it is for recording synagogue donations on the Sabbath.
In Jewish tradition, the weekly Torah portion is divided into seven sections, each preceded and followed by a blessing which someone from the congregation reads. This is an honor that some synagogues put up for auction, the proceeds of which go to charity.* Jewish tradition forbids writing on the Sabbath, therefore allowing only the spoken pledges. However, using this card, a person called up to recite the blessings could move the dials to specify the Torah portion and the amount donated.
Still, in some synagogues, rather than taking bids, a representative might hand the card to whoever receives the honor as form of pressure to make a donation, probably to the synagogue. Today, it is a global trend to donate to a synagogue after receiving such an honor.
M. Cohen, Aliyah Card, 1913, Collection of the Yeshiva University Museum, 1997.001
*Such a practice is recorded in the Polish Mishnah Berurah (published around 1900), a commentary to the authoritative Jewish legal compendium, the Shulchan Aruch.
- Post by Noam Cohen, YUM Curatorial Intern