“ACCESSORIES OF HOLINESS”: DEFINING JEWISH SACRED OBJECTS
1.. Talmud, Megillah 26B; Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, II; Shulchan Arukh, O.H. 154.3. Moses Maimonides (1135–1204) was a physician, philosopher, and rabbinic scholar. The Mishneh Torah is a law code, i.e., a practical guide rather than a theoretical discusssion of legal issues. The Shulchan Arukh is a medieval law code (first published 1565) still considered authoritative by traditional Jews.
2.. Ashkenazic Jews trace their ancestry to communities in central and eastern Europe. Sephardic Jews are those who came originally from the Iberian Peninusula. After they were expelled in 1492, many settled in Greece, Turkey, and Palestine as well as in other parts of the world. Oriental Jews are those who trace their ancestry to the Arab world and Iran, as well as those whose families never left Palestine.
3.. I am indebted to Paul Himmelstein for permission to transform his experiences with owners of Torah ark curtains into a general principle.
4.. These cups are usually called kiddush cups, after the blessing over wine that is said at the beginning of every Sabbath and holiday. The word kiddush comes from the same root as kedusha, “holiness.”
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U. S. Congress. 1990. Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, Public Law 101–601. United States Code Congressional and Administrative News, 101st Congress–Second Session. St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing.
VIRGINIA GREENE is senior conservator at the University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia. Originally trained as an archaeologist (B.A. in anthropology, Barnard College, 1963; M.A. in anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 1968), she received her diploma in the conservation of archaeological and ethnographic materials (with distinction) from the Institute of Archaeology, University of London, in 1971. She also has a B.A. in Jewish Studies from Gratz College and will receive her M.A. in Jewish studies in 1992. In addition to broad professional interests in objects conservation, museum storage, and exhibits, she is a member of the Board of Directors and Ritual Committee of Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel and often leads services or reads Torah for the congregation. Address: University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, 33d and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104–6324.