Lengnau Mappot

A Visit to Stefanie Göckeritz’s Studio

Tex­ti­le res­to­rer Ste­fa­nie Göcke­ritz clea­ned and repai­red two of the museum’s Len­gnau mappot.

The Len­gnau map­pot; a coll­ec­tion of 218 Torah bin­ders (also cal­led wim­pels), were dis­co­ver­ed in the 1960s in the women’s gal­lery of the syn­ago­gue in Len­gnau (Aar­gau). In 1967, the wim­pels were the sub­ject of rese­arch by Flo­rence Gug­gen­heim-Grün­berg, who­se con­tri­bu­ti­on was the first sys­te­ma­tic descrip­ti­on of this kind of coll­ec­tion. Today the Len­gnau map­pot belong to the Jewish Muse­um of Switzerland.

The Len­gnau map­pot span almost three cen­tu­ries, from 1655 to 1906. The width of the fabric rib­bons in the coll­ec­tion ran­ges from 10 cm to 24 cm. The length is typi­cal­ly bet­ween two and three and a half met­res. The wim­pels are embro­ide­red or pain­ted with deco­ra­ted Hebrew let­ters in Ash­ke­n­a­zi squa­re-script. The wim­pels from befo­re 1854 are embro­ide­red, after that they are most­ly painted.

As with all Ash­ke­n­a­zi Torah bin­ders, the inscrip­ti­ons on the Len­gnau map­pot fol­low the same pat­tern; first naming the son, then the father and then the child’s date of birth accor­ding to the Jewish calen­dar. Some map­pot addi­tio­nal­ly name Len­gnau as the place of birth. A stan­dar­di­zed say­ing fol­lows: the boy should grow to the chup­pa (mar­ria­ge cano­py) and good deeds under the gui­dance of the Torah. This wish, which ori­gi­na­tes from a bles­sing at cir­cumcis­i­on, is illus­tra­ted by pain­ted or embro­ide­red pic­tures of Torah scrolls, a chup­pa and other Jewish symbols.

The­re are very few lar­ge coll­ec­tions of Torah bin­ders that come from one sin­gle com­mu­ni­ty. A few examp­les are the coll­ec­tions from Bech­ho­fen and Gerns­heim am Rhein, but neither is as com­pre­hen­si­ve as the Len­gnau map­pot. The Len­gnau map­pot bear wit­ness to an unbro­ken tra­di­ti­on of rural Juda­ism in Switz­er­land and are an inte­res­t­ing resour­ce for rese­arch into fami­ly history.

The artic­le is also available on Wiki­pe­dia.


verfasst am 17.12.2021