Torah Binder

Koppel ben Moses Heller


Textile featuring paintings of various animals and a crown.
The cloth covering a baby boy at his circumcision was sometimes later made into a Torah binder (wimple) and brought later to the synagogue in a celebratory manner. Koppel ben Moses Heller, of Bretzfeld, Germany, was commissioned by the Lilienthal family to create this Torah binder in Munich, which includes the inscription: “Made for Menachem, called Mendl, ben Judah Loeb Schnaidack [Schnaittach], born under a good sign on Thursday, 3rd of Marheshvan 5575 [October 17, 1814].” Menachem Mendel grew up to become Max Lilienthal (1814–1882), best known for establishing modern schools for Jews in Russia despite tremendous opposition from some traditional Jews. At the time, Lilienthal’s enlightenment agenda received backing from the Russian authorities. In 1845, he immigrated to the United States and served for many years as rabbi in a Reform congregation in Cincinnati, contributing considerably to the development of Reform Judaism in the United States. Silk embroidery on linen.


Accession no. 80.83, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Lilienthal, Magnes. Collection of Jewish Art and Life, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California.

Published in: The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, vol. 6.

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