Levitical Pitcher

This pewter Levitical pitcher was used to wash the hands of the kohen (priest) in preparation for the priestly benediction of the congregation

Unknown Artist

This is perhaps the only ritual object remaining from a synagogue built in 1887 in Gemünden-am-Main in Unterfranken, Bavaria, Germany, where an organized congregation was established in the 1870s. Engraved on the pewter pitcher is the inscription in German "Jewish (actually Israelite) congregation Gemünden" and the date 1881.
Jews began to leave Gemünden en masse following the passing of the 1935 Nuremberg Laws.  In 1938, anti-Jewish violence increased and in August of that year the community concluded its negotiations with the local rulers over the sale of the synagogue.  In the pogroms of 10 November, Jewish property was damaged and the synagogue’s ritual objects were desecrated and destroyed.  The synagogue went up in flames during the night but it was not completely burnt.  In early 1939 the kehillah was officially liquidated and all remaining Jews departed prior to the onset of deportations.  No Jews returned to Gemünden after the war but the synagogue still stands there today.

Name: Levitical Pitcher
Artist: Unknown Artist
Origin: Germany, 1881
Medium: Metalwork, Pewter
Dimensions: 11 in. x 7 1/16 in.
Credit: Gift of Dr. Joseph Gutmann
Catalog Number: 74.92