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Set of woman’s burial shrouds

Germany, early 20th century
Linen, lace and silk strips
Gift of Yitzhak Ries, Jerusalem, in memory of his grandmother, Else Löffler-Kaufmann

Wittersheim, Alsace, early 20th century
Linen, silk
Gift of Jacqueline Schwarz in memory of her mother, Regine Korb

Accession number: B87.1066, B91.0671

After the body of the deceased is ritually cleansed, it is dressed in shrouds.
Usually white, these are made of cotton or linen; the Talmud relates that even the great Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi, who lived in the 2nd century CE, asked to be buried in a simple linen garment. Shrouds were usually prepared in advance, and sometimes worn for the first time at one’s wedding. Parts of the set were also worn on a few other special occasions, such as the Day of Atonement. The shrouds displayed here were sewn by women members of the burial society; the strips of lace were usually added by the owners themselves.

From the Israel Museum publications:
Juhasz, Esther (ed.), The Jewish Wardrobe from the Collection of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 5 Continents Editions, Milan and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2012

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir

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