Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Handcrafted Torah adornments at center of legal battle shed light on Colonial American Jewish life

By Penny Schwartz
The Torah finials at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. (Penny Schwartz for WBUR)
BOSTON---One of the gallery highlights during the Museum of Fine Arts' celebration of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, on Wednesday is a pair of handcrafted Colonial-era silver adornments for a Torah scroll. The rare pieces, called Torah finials, made by artisan Myer Myers, have been on loan to the MFA from the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, since late 2010 — and are at the center of a high-stakes intra-religious legal battle between two centuries-old Jewish congregations. The dispute over ownership between a Rhode Island and a New York congregation, which began in late 2012, is now before the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The court's decision could bear on whether these artifacts remain on public view in the MFA's Art of the Americas wing. [More]
Special Events: Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights @mfaboston