January 19th – March 23rd, 2018


January 19th  through March 23rd, 2018

EXHIBITION: The Needle’s Trail

           Masorot (Traditions) The Philadelphia Chapter of the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework * The TJM Artists’ Collaborative * The Temple Judea Museum Fabric Collection

You are invited to follow The Needle’s Trail through the imagination of our artists and the treasured objects of our traditions.


………you shall instruct all who are skillful, whom I have endowed with the gift of skill, to make Aaron’s vestments, for consecrating him to serve…as priest.  Verse 3

…..make pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, all around the hem of the robe……with bells of gold between them all around…..so that the sound…is heard when he comes into the sanctuary before the Lord…. Verses 31-35You shall make the fringed tunic of fine linen You shall make the headdress of fine linen

You shall make the sash of embroidered work……for dignity and adornment. Verses 39 – 40

Worship and religious practice, the Bible tells us, are to be imbued with beauty. The lines above are taken from the Book of Exodus, Chapter 28. The entire chapter, forty-three verses, describes the clothing that is to be prepared for Aaron, the High Priest, and his sons. This chapter is one of many devoted to the specifications for the building of the tabernacle in the desert. By means of the exquisite detail devoted to the making of these articles of clothing, and to the construction of the tabernacle, we learn the importance of Hiddur Mitzvah – the sanctification, or beautification of ritual. Today, beautiful ceremonial objects, such as those displayed in this exhibition, enable us to continue the mitzvah of beautifying Jewish ritual.

Although the above biblical passages refer to fabric as ritual clothing, the perception of fabric objects as intrinsic to Jewish observance and custom has broadened considerably beyond ritual wear. This exhibition looks at a wide array of Judaic fabric art. Some of it is drawn from the museum’s outstanding fabric collection; some objects have been created especially for this exhibition; certain artists have wandered further a field, to other media, and have used the traditions of our fabrics as inspiration.

Whether woven, stitched, embroidered, or painted; from the most humble of homemade tallit bags to the grandest of Torah covers and huppot (marriage canopies); the fabric treasures in the TJM collection range in age from the 17th century to the present day, and represent religious usage, historic commemorations, the Holocaust, family traditions, folk art, and even the Masonic Link. This special collection represents an important treasure of Jewish ceremonial art.

Rita Rosen Poley


The Temple Judea Museum

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