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Jewish Festival Tables in Miniature

DATES January 01, 1951 through January 06, 1952
COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
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  • September 28, 1951 An exhibition of nine table settings in miniature illustrating the major Holy day and festival observances in Jewish life will open to the public at The Brooklyn Museum tomorrow (Saturday Sept. 29th.) The table settings which were made by Mrs. Benjamin Lencher of Pittsburgh, Pa. will be shown on the 5th floor adjacent to the Museum’s permanent collection of Jewish ritual objects. The exhibition will remain on view through Jan. 1st.

    The nine tables in the exhibition represent the following Holy days: Sabbath Rash Hashanah (New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Pesach (Passover). Festival tables include: Purim (Feast of Lots’) Succoth (Feast of Harvest), Sukkah (Feast of Tabernacle) Shabnoth (Feast of Spring), and Chanahah (Feast of Lights).

    The Tables measure 14 inches by 10 inches and all china, flatware, flowers, food, etc. are all scaled in proportion.

    Mrs. Lencher the wife of a Pittsburgh doctor made many of the objects herself as a hobby and says that the carpet needle is her best tool. She also used a razor blade and a pencil (as a rolling pin) in making the miniature cakes and other foods.

    Each table has a different set of china along with tiny candelabra, collected from shops in Pittsburgh, and New York. Water tumbles were blown especially for the exhibition by a member of the Carnegie Museum staff in Pittsburgh.

    The simulated foods are ingeniously made: the butter pots are made of lemon candy and the sliced eggs from birthday candles. The honey cakes and two-layer coconut cakes are delicious looking but hardly a life-size bite. Everything is carried out in minute detail. The Yom Kippur table is complete with a tall memorial candle for the dead, a miniature prayer book with even a miniature pair of spectacles. On the Purim table is a Book of Esther which is actually printed in miniature on parchment.

    The exhibition is presented by The Brooklyn Museum with the New York Region of the National Conference of Christians and Jews to further the understanding of religious groups.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1947 - 1952. 10-12/1951, 089.
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