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Restoration of a 2nd Holy “Torah” Ark from Mantua, Italy

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Restoration of a 2nd Holy “Torah” Ark from Mantua, Italy  

This ancient ark (dating back to 1795) is today in daily use in Rabbi Batzri's synagogue, in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem. Previously, the Ark had been found in a poor and vandalized condition in an abandoned synagogue in the Yad Eliyahu neighborhood of Tel Aviv,  but was then gifted to the Museum of Italian Jewry. Following the completion of the restoration/conservation, the Ark was delivered to the synagogue in Har Nof  on perpetual loan.

The rhombuses (little diamond shapes) directly above the bottom row of letters in the Hebrew title meaning "This is the Gate of Heaven" are ancient numerological symbols (known as “Gematriya” in Hebrew) indicating the year of manufacture of the Ark.

The restoration of the Ark took about a year and a half. Examination of the paint layers in the conservation laboratories of the Museum, revealed five non-original paint layers that had been added over time, and many parts of the original carving were missing. After consolidation of the paint layers and the wood, cracks were repaired and the two pillars and the crown stolen from the synagogue at Yad Eliyahu were reconstructed from scratch. The columns and crown were carved by George Troyanov, and painted by Noga Schusterman.

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