Bimah Cover / Lectern Cover

The Bimah is an elevated platform within a synagogue, traditionally placed in the center of the room. It symbolizes the altar of the Holy Temple. Prayers are led from the Bimah and the Torah is placed on it to be read. To honor the Torah – the Sacred Scripture – the Bimah is permanently covered with an ornate cover on which the scrolls are placed.

Title: Bimah Cover
Date: probably early 19thcentury
Material: silk, linen linings
Dimensions: 88 x 90 cm (34’’ x 35’’)
Creator: unknown
Sponsor: unknown

The cover shown here, made from light green silk cloth with interwoven stripes of blocks, is very well preserved. It is sewn from seven separate parts, suggesting that the cloth had been used for clothing before and found a secondary use as a material for the cover. The lining is made from simple, unbleached, and handwoven linen. In less affluent Jewish congregations, especially in rural areas, this use of high-quality fabric remnants to create textiles for the Synagogue was quite common.

Further Reading:
Wiesner, Linda. “Der Textilfund”. Zeugnisse Jüdischen Lebens In Niederzissen. Genisa-Funde In Der Ehemaligen Synagoge, Falk Wiesemann, Kultur- Und Heimatverein Niederzissen, Niederzissen, 2012.