Focus Questions

What does this object make you think of?  Does it remind you of something you have seen before?

Which part of the painting do you notice most?  Why did you notice that part?

Why do you think this scene was painted?

Have you noticed...How many Torah scrolls are in this painting? Click to reveal answer

There are six Torah scrolls painted. The reason there are so many scrolls is because the people are celebrating Simchat Torah where all the Synagogue Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark and paraded for all to see

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Procession of the Law

Procession of the Law

This beautiful oil painting shows a special Jewish celebration called Simchat Torah which takes place in synagogues once a year.

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The Object

Object name: Procession of the Law Oil Painting
Date: 1850
Catalogue number: c 1974.2.25.3
Material(s): Oil paint on canvas
Artist: Solomon Alexander Hart R.A
Size: 106cm in height and 94cm in width
On display in the Jewish Museum? Yes

  • This painting is full of objects and symbols you would find in a synagogue today.
  • Look closely at the painting to see the white prayer shawls some people are wearing.  A prayer shawl (tallit) is used when reading from the Torah or when praying.  You can see that some people cover their heads with the prayer shawl and some people drape it over their shoulders. 
  • There are two types of candle holders in the painting; the candelabra above and the tall candlestick on the right.  Light is very important in Judaism and is used to celebrate, remember and create a holy space.  Although synagogues today have electricity, candlelight is still very important as it is traditional.

The Story

The Painting

This oil painting ‘The Procession of the Law’ shows a Synagogue scene at the festival of Simchat Torah, believed to be set in the Synagogue at Livorno, Italy in 1850.

The Festival

Simchat Torah (Rejoicing of the Torah) is a day of great celebration when the yearly cycle of Torah readings ends and a new cycle begins. All the Torah scrolls are removed from the Ark and paraded around the Synagogue in a series of seven circuits with singing and dancing.

Digital Takeaway

Download this PDF to make your own cut-out calendar with the Jewish festivals and months.


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