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Ark and Reader’s Desk


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Ark and Reader’s Desk


Standing at the center of worship in the synagogue is the ark, which holds the Torah scrolls. The scrolls, handwritten in Hebrew, contain the Five Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy).

During Sabbath worship, the scrolls are taken from the ark, paraded around the synagogue, and placed on the reader’s desk. The ornate fabric covers are removed, and a weekly portion is read. A Torah reader uses a yad, or pointer, to
avoid touching the holy text.

Meaning “scroll” in Hebrew, the megillah contains biblical books written on a scroll. Often the term applies just to the book of Esther, which is read on the holiday of Purim.

Ten Commandments tablets are often placed above the synagogue ark. Received by Moses on Mount Sinai, the original tablets contained important ethical commandments, among the 613 divine laws that Jews are asked to obey.

The flame refers back to the Ner Tamid (“eternal light” in Hebrew) that was kept perpetually I it over the Ark of the Covenant in the temple of ancient Jerusalem.

Star of David Reader's Desk Scroll Yad