ACE Series: The Sefer Torah Crown
When our team discovered an exquisite silver crown during an otherwise standard consult at an EBTH home, we thought we might have something special on our hands. More research into the object, handcrafted entirely of sterling silver with rows of filigree work and a bezel set with carnelian stones, revealed that it is a rare and significant Sefer Torah crown from the renowned Bezalel School of Arts. Dating back to the early 20th century, the piece was likely crafted under the supervision of the school’s founder, Boris Schatz. Marked on its interior with the official Bezalel stamp, the work represents a period of arts and crafts revival which blossomed out of the European/American Arts and Crafts movement.
In history, Torah crowns are among the first Torah ornaments and first appear in in the 11th century, used to crown the so-called “Bridegrooms of the Law:” the individuals called up on Simhat Torah to complete the annual cycle of the Torah reading and initiate the new cycle. Initially made from plants, jewelry or other decorative items, by the 14th century, crowns are fashioned from silver, each in a design and style indicative of its region.
Among the intricate details of this traditional Yemeni-style crown are Stars of David, 12 hand-carved bone medallions, representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and small bell embellishments. The crown bears the inscription: “It is a Tree of Life for those who cling to it, Blessed are they who uphold it.”