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Published: Saturday, 10/1/2005

Exhibit enhances Jewish Holy Days observance

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Displays, from 'Judaica Toledo: A Centennial Celebration, Traditions and Treasures of the Toledo Jewish Community,' connected to Rosh Hashanah include the ram's horn. Displays, from 'Judaica Toledo: A Centennial Celebration, Traditions and Treasures of the Toledo Jewish Community,' connected to Rosh Hashanah include the ram's horn.
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The Jewish High Holy Days begin at sundown Tuesday with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, marking the advent of year No. 5,766 on the Jewish calendar.

The High Holy Days are a time to take stock of one's life and to make a commitment to prayer, purification, and spiritual growth.

According to tradition, the start of Rosh Hashanah begins with the blowing the shofar, or ram's horn, heralding God's creation of heaven and Earth.

The honey pot. The honey pot.
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The New Year holiday is followed by Ten Days of Awe, or Ten Days of Repentance, in which Jews devote themselves to prayer, fasting, and purification. The holy days conclude on Oct. 13 with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Jewish life in Toledo is the subject of an exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art that runs through Oct. 16, "Judaica Toledo: A Centennial Celebration, Traditions and Treasures of the Toledo Jewish Community."

The exhibit, displayed in the Community Gallery, features more than 100 items and 200 photos of Jewish life in Toledo. The collection is divided into four themes: Family, Jewish holidays, Sabbath, and the Holocaust, according to Joel Beren, CEO of the United Jewish Council.

Among the photos, which date back to 1916, are ones of Toledo's first rabbi, Rabbi Isaac Shapiro, and local visits by such dignitaries as Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.

The first known record of Jews in Toledo dates to 1857, when a Philadelphia magazine sent a reporter to the Midwest to write about the rapidly growing region. The reporter's findings, reported in the Occident and American Jewish Advocate, tersely stated: "Though there are many Israelites, no attempt has been made, at least as far as we heard, to organize a congregation."

The Torah and crown are included in 'Judaica Toledo.' The Torah and crown are included in 'Judaica Toledo.'
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But synagogues were founded soon after, and community groups such as the UJC and the JCC were formed in 1906. Today there are three synagogues in the Toledo area - The Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim, a Reform congegration in Sylvania; Congregation B'nai Israel, a Conservative synagogue in West Toledo, and Congregation Etz Chayim, an Orthodox congregation in West Toledo.

Items on display at the museum include a Hebrew Bible from 1705 that was rescued from a Nazi book burning; a Remington-brand Hebrew typewriter; a mezuzah, or parchment scroll, that was carried into space in 1985 by Jewish shuttle astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman; glass, silver, and other artistic versions of kiddush cups and menorahs, and paintings and mixed-media artworks reflecting the horrors of the Holocaust.

"Each item brings an interesting vignette of Jewish life in northwest Ohio," Mr. Beren said.



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