These beautiful silver-cased scrolls were made by Frederick Kandler, George III’s silversmith, for Rabbi Samuel Chaim Falk.
Following the readmission of Jews to Britain under Oliver Cromwell, there was a growing community of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews in London from the late 17th century. Most came from Germany, but after 1770 there was small-scale migration from Poland. Falk was a kabbalist and fled Westphalia, where he had been condemned to death as a sorcerer, arriving in London in 1742. He became known as the ‘Baal Shem of London’ and was described as “a dabbler in magic, a maker of amulets and a kabbalist who used incantations to accomplish paranormal feats such as finding lost treasure”.
Upon his death in 1782, Falk left the scrolls to the Great Synagogue in Duke’s Place, Aldgate, founded in 1692 by a group of German Jewish merchants. They became part of the museum’s collection in 1992.