Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt am Main

The Spiritual Background of Judaism

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The Spiritual Background of Judaism

Judaism is a religion based on ritual in which religious practice is not restricted to the synagogue but is an integral part of the community's festivals throughout the year and everyday life within the Jewish home. Almost all the biblical festivals and historical memorial days have their own specific ritual objects for celebration. Without the ritual objects a festival cannot take place. For this reason, liturgical instruments play an important role in traditional Jewish life.

The following section presents the principal ceremonies performed at the synagogue and at home, illustrating them by the ritual objects used. The presentation of the synagogue indicates the multi-functional nature of this facility within the Jewish community and the significance of the Torah as the spiritual basis of Judaism.


An entire room is dedicated to the Shabbat, the most important holy day in the home, as indicated by the ritual objects used to mark its start and end.

The various stations of life from circumcision and naming, bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah to marriage and burial are associated with special ceremonies and specific objects that make the individual's involvement in the Jewish community all the more tangible.

The biblical festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot are as much an expression of collective memory as the historical memorial festivals, and all serve to nurture Jewish tradition and maintain the identity of the community.

Nevertheless, Jewish communities in the diaspora have always been integrated into their non-Jewish environment, and the enormous diversity of the objects used to celebrate the Shabbat and Hanukkah offers an insight into the regional varieties of the rites developing in European Jewish communities down the centuries.

The Museum's collection was primarily established in the 1980s through purchases and donations. It includes a number of outstanding items from the old Frankfurt Jewish Community as well as items from the Netherlands, Central and Eastern Europe and North Africa.

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Frankfurt am Main
Last change: 2013, August 02





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