Mordecai Reicher1921/22

The Jewish Museum, New York

The Jewish Museum, New York

As attested by its Hebrew inscriptions this papercut served two functions. In the upper section a double-headed eagle encloses the word "mizrah," Hebrew for east, indicating that the papercut was meant to be used as a decoration for the eastern wall of a home or synagogue to mark the direction of prayer. At the juncture of the eagle's wing the inscription "I am ever mindful of the Lord's presence" (Psalms 16:9) indicates that the piece functioned also as a shiviti, a composition intended to inspire worshippers to adopt a proper attitude toward prayer. Usually hung on a synagogue wall, the shiviti derives its name from the first Hebrew word in that biblical passage. Framing the entire piece, the papercut also includes three passages from the "Ethics of the Fathers." The elaborative decoration includes Zionist and traditional symbols such as the flags in the upper corners, the crown of Torah inscribed with the Ten Commandments above center, and the seven branched candelabrum in the lower half. The inscription at the bottom center indicates that this work was a gift to a fraternal society.

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  • Title: Mizrah/Shiviti
  • Creator: Mordecai Reicher
  • Date Created: 1921/22
  • Location: Brooklyn, United States, North and Central America
  • Physical Dimensions: 19 3/4 × 15 3/4 in. (50.2 × 40 cm)
  • Type: Ceremonial Art
  • Rights: https://thejewishmuseum.org/about-this-site#terms-conditions
  • External Link: View this object at thejewishmuseum.org
  • Medium: Ink and watercolor on cut-out paper