Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Mauro Magliani
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.

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