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Yom Kippur

by Hannah Landsmann
© Sebastian Gansrigler
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the highest Jewish holiday of the year and is observed as a day of fasting. On the eve of the festival, one eats abundantly once more time and then goes without food and drink for 25 hours. One spends a lot of time in the synagogue; even those Jewish women and men who are not particularly strict with their religion during the year take Yom Kippur very seriously. Since life is still more important than the law, children only fast half the day; sick and pregnant women do not fast at all. Bathing, putting on lotion, wearing leather shoes and making love are also prohibited. At the end of Yom Kippur, as at the Rosh Hashanah festival, the sound of the shofar horn, a hollowed-out ram’s horn, can be heard. The piercing, actually unpleasant sound reminds people of their religious duties.
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© Jüdisches Museum Wien
The story behind it can be learned from this textile, a Shulchan blanket that was inventoried in the old Jewish Museum. According to the inventory information, it is a brit milah blanket. Brit milah is the Hebrew term to describe the circumcision of an eight-day-old Jewish boy. On October 16, 1931, the blanket was given to the museum by Jenny Kronfeld. Through Google Arts & Culture, you can take a more exact look at the well-preserved figurative depiction of the sacrifice of Isaac.
This story takes Abraham as a role model; he would even have sacrificed his son if it had been God’s will. God tests Abraham and a ram is sacrificed instead of Isaac.
In the Dorotheergasse Museum you can see some shofar horns in the Atrium and in the Visible Storage. This plastic version, which also sounds loud, is not on display. Making sounds with it is so easy that even children can do it. Generating any sound at all on a ram's horn takes a lot of practice and excellent breathing technique.
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© Jüdisches Museum Wien
The artist Mark Podwal gave us these prints as part of the opening of the “Kabbalah” exhibition. Podwal was represented with objects in the exhibition on Jewish mysticism. The available work is numbered and signed.

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© Jüdisches Museum Wien