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The Guiding Hand

Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica


An Exhibition of Torah Pointers from Past and Present

For thousands of years, Jews used simple tapered wooden sticks to point the way through the densely written text of the Torah without touching the fragile parchment. But over the millennia, the yad — pointer — has developed into a unique art form. While some are still carved out of wood, others are now shaped from silver or graphite, and even ornamented with gold, ivory and jewels.

The yad has thus become an artistic chronicle of how Jews read and relate to the Torah, a story you can explore in a wide-ranging exhibition of more than 200 pointers of all styles and national origins, some up to 400 years old. The display draws from the Barr Foundation collection, and will also feature Torah ornaments belonging to the Bernard Museum of Judaica at Temple Emanu-El.

To mark the opening of this exhibition, we will hold a moving processional of over 50 Torah scrolls from tri-state-area synagogues to complement the first-ever New York gathering of scrolls from Czechoslovakia that survived the Holocaust, in partnership with Memorial Scrolls Trust of London.


Exhibition dates:  February 6 – May 30

Museum hours:  Sunday – Thursday, 10: AM – 4:00 PM

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