Auction 88 - Part I - Books, Manuscripts, Rabbinical Letters, Ceremonial Art

Small Torah Shield – Oran, Algeria – Dedicated in Memory of Brothers Yaakov and Moshe Kalfon Killed in WWI – Made by J. Fima

Opening: $400
Sold for: $525
Including buyer's premium

Shield for second Torah scroll. Presumably Oran, Algeria, [ca. 1918].
Silver, cast, pierced and engraved (marked with French hallmarks: tiny mark in form of flower or crab; initials JF within diamond – presumably maker's or assayer's mark).
Thick, rectangular silver plaque. Engraved dedicatory inscription in memory of the brothers Yaakov and Moshe sons of R. Avraham Kalfon, killed at war. The words "Sefer Sheni" (second Torah scroll) are pierced in the top third of the plate. Engraved on verso: "J. Fima" (presumably the silversmith who produced this shield). Long chain (original) for hanging on Torah case.
According to the WWI register of the French Ministry of Armed Forces, Jacob Kalfon (b. 1891) and Moïse Kalfon (b. 1893), both from Oran, Algeria, were killed during their service in the French army; Jacob at the age of 23 (in 1914), and Moïse, the younger brother, at the age of 25 (in 1918; see enclosed material).
Height: 11 cm, with chain: 63 cm, width: 12 cm. Good condition.

Ceremonial Objects from the Collection of an Algerian Family

Algerian Jewry, one of the oldest and largest Jewish communities in Islamic countries, numbered at its peak some 130,000 Jews, most of whom left when Algeria gained its independence in 1962. The vast majority of Algerian Jews immigrated to France, while others moved to Israel.

Items 288-296 originate from the private collection of a rabbinic family in Western Algeria. Some of the items were found abandoned in Algerian synagogues following the mass exodus of its Jews, and were collected by the members of this family, whose descendants immigrated to France, and later to Israel.

Silver Hallmarks in French Algeria
Algeria, which was under French control from 1830 to 1962, became subject to French laws of silver crafting and silver hallmarks from 1838 (see: Tardy, pp. 29-30; 197-200).
Some of the silver items in the present collection bear French hallmarks, which for the most part appear to have been stamped by Algerian silversmiths or assayers in Algeria, already in the 19th century. Nonetheless, some items seem to have been produced in France, and stamped there before their import to Algeria.
The strong French connection along with the cultural diversity of Algerian Jewry (which comprises Jewish immigrants from Spain, Morocco, Italy and France), are well reflected in the present items, to the point that it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint whether, for instance, an item was produced in the workshop of a Jewish silversmith from Algeria, from Spanish Morocco, from the community of Tétouan Jews living in Oran (Algeria), from Libya or from France. Likewise, in some cases it is difficult to discern conclusively whether a specific item was marked before it was brought from France to Algeria during the 19th or early 20th century, after it was brought into Algeria, or perhaps decades later, when it was brought back to France during the 1960s.
We are grateful to Chaya Benjamin and Prof. Shalom Sabar for their assistance in cataloguing these items.

PLEASE NOTE: Item descriptions were shortened in translation. For further information, please refer to Hebrew text.

Jewish Ceremonial Art
Jewish Ceremonial Art