About The Mantua/Sermide Ark

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Details of the Mantua Ark

This is one of the oldest Holy Arks in the world. The shape of the Holy Ark recalls the traditional representation of the facade of the Temple in Jerusalem, which housed the Ark of the Covenant; it is designed like a building and features architectural elements such as columns and capitals.

The Torah Ark and its two monumental cathedrae (chairs) come from the Scuola Grande Synagogue in Mantua and were made in 1543, according to an inscription that appears on one of the cathedrae: “The Great Synagogue here in Mantua, Nissan (5)303” [1543].

The Scuola Grande was transferred in 1633 to a new site, within the Palace of the Duchess Felicita Gonzaga. The Ark was transferred in 1635 to Sermide, a small town 70 kilometers south-east of Mantua. In 1956 the Ark and the cathedrae were brought to Jerusalem and assembled in memory of Rabbi Sally Meyer.