Israel Museum Displays Veils Used In Jewish Burials

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is holding an exhibition devoted to the special veils that are traditionally used by Jews to bury their dead.

Like other ancient cultures, Jews also bury their dead in specific particulars of apparel and the religion is clear about how a death should be handled.

When someone dies, religious law requires that representatives of the living accompany the body until burial. And in a ritual known as tahara, the remains are precisely washed and placed in a white veil.

“Dressed for Eternity-Jewish veils through the Ages” displays veils and tunics that are part of the museum’s expansive collection of apparel worn by Jews all around the world.

Efrat Assaf-Shapira, curator of the exhibition, said these multipurpose “burial veils were also worn during life, for special life events”, including as dresses after giving birth, on high vacations, and as wedding garments. “

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The issue of fashion is very intriguing because veils are conventional objects, and conventional objects always keep ancient or aged dress traditions, which no longer exist,” said Assaf-Shapira.

“So when we look at the veils, we can see dress, ways or fashions of dress in different countries. We can see how people used to wear capes with hoods in Morocco, but also in Europe because it stayed in the veils.

“The particulars of apparel and fabrics on display represent different ages, communities, and regions and come from all over the world including Morocco, Yemen, Turkey, Europe, the United States, and Israel.”

Visitor, Ilana Licht, said she found the exhibition fascinating.

“I’ve learned that people prepare for death, when they get wedded or when they give birth, that it’s in their mind and they prepare for it. I like it.”

Jews believe in an afterlife and, according to their traditions, the veil worn for their burial will be their clothes when they’re resurrected.

The exhibition “Dressed for Eternity-Jewish veils through the Ages” runs until October 14.


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