DOOR TO ANOTHER WORLD - THE BEN-EZRA SYNAGOGUE ARK DOOR
Coming to YU Museum in 2013, the Ben-Ezra Synagogue. Read on to find out more!
From “Treasures from the Ben Ezra Synagogue” on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Bizantium and Islam: Age of Transition exhibition blog.
by Yitzchak Schwartz, Research Associate, Yeshiva University
Monday, April 2, 2012
Several of the Jewish manuscripts on view in Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, including the example shown above, are thought to have come from the Cairo Genizah, a repository of communal, religious, and business documents housed in the attic of the tenth-century Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo that was re-discovered in 1896 by Cambridge scholar Solomon Schechter
The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and the Yeshiva University Museum in New York City co-own another treasure from the Ben Ezra Synagogue: one of the doors of the synagogue’s ark, the compartment where the scriptures are kept. According to an article in the Baltimore Sun (August 30, 2000), the door was discovered at an estate sale in central Florida in 1993 or 1994 and purchased for $37.50. After experts—including Byzantium and Islam catalogue contributor Steven Fine—identified the panel as originating from the Ben Ezra Synagogue, and testing confirmed that it dated to the eleventh century, it was acquired by the museums as a joint purchase.
Read the rest of this discussion on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Bizantium and Islam: Age of Transition exhibition blog.
Image: Panel from a Torah Shrine, ca. 1040. Cairo, Egypt. Wood (walnut) with traces of paint and gilt. 34 3/8 x 14 7/16 x 1 in. (87.3 x 36.7 x 2.5 cm). The Walters Art Museum and Yeshiva University Museum (64.181)