The Museum of the Memorial Scrolls Trust houses more than 400Â TorahÂ binders â€“ probably the largest such collection in Great Britain. These binders have been created from many different fabrics, making them of great interest as reflections of the contemporary social environment. They date predominantly from the 19th Century but a few are from the 18th century and some from the early 20th century. Because they arrived still wound aroundÂ TorahÂ scrolls which were nearly all accurately catalogued in the 1940s, we know their provenance right down to the town or village of origin.
The Binders are of three basic types. The first being the traditionalÂ wimpel made from the cloth used at a boyâ€™s circumcision. These came predominantly fromÂ Ashkenaz, the lands of German-speaking Jews; Southern Germany, Alsace, Switzerland, Bohemia and Moravia. There are many other names and spellings for this type of binder, such asÂ mappa, mappe, mappah, wrapper, thorahwickelbandÂ etc. These names depended upon the customs of the various communities.
The second type is a â€śshortâ€ť binder, made to wrap once around the Torah Scroll and fasten quickly with a hook, a button or a tie. Once again, the various styles and techniques employed reflect the local and prevalent folk art of Bohemia and Moravia.
The third example has no obvious Jewish connection apart from its usage, but is derived from a miscellaneous selection of whatever material was available.