JAIC 1992, Volume 31, Number 1, Article 5 (pp. 31 to 39)
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Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1992, Volume 31, Number 1, Article 5 (pp. 31 to 39)

“ACCESSORIES OF HOLINESS”: DEFINING JEWISH SACRED OBJECTS

VIRGINIA GREENE



4 EXHIBITION AND STORAGE

There are few restrictions on the exhibit of Jewish ritual objects and generally none on the examination of this material for purposes of study by anyone of any religion or culture.

Torah scrolls, tefillin, and mezuzza scrolls are normally not exhibited unrolled, but this may be done if they are no longer fit for ritual use. In these cases, the advice of a rabbi should always be sought. These objects should be stored in a drawer or cabinet and covered. If a conservator judges it is unwise to leave an original mantle on a scroll, or a pair of tefillin in its bag, these can be separated.

Small Torah scrolls may be safely stored lying down in a drawer; large ones should be kept upright in a special rack. If a scroll has no mantle, or the original one must be removed, a plain cloth mantle should be made. Small scrolls in drawers may be covered by a clean white cloth or tissue paper. Tefillin should be kept in a special bag if one exists or placed in a plain cloth bag. Mezuzzah scrolls can be kept in their cases or wrapped in tissue. If properly cared for, there is no reason why these objects, if now in good condition, should ever require conservation treatment except in the event of a disaster.

If the parchment is in good condition, a Torah scroll should be completely rolled, front to back (or vice versa) and back to the center, once every year or two. This should be done only by people (it takes two) who are experienced in this procedure, with the advice of a conservator.

When taken out for study, tashmisheykedusha should be treated with the same respect one would show for a similar object still in ritual use. The table on which they are placed should be covered by a clean cloth, and the objects should be covered when not being examined or read. If left for a short period of time, a Torah scroll should be rolled up and the mantle or cloth placed on top. Tefillin or mezuzzah scrolls should be similarly covered.


Copyright 1992 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works