Congregants > Keeping track in the synagogue
Pinkas terumot le-bet ha-keneset be-Casale Monferrato.
Manuscript in Hebrew on paper.
Italy, ca. 19th century.
MS X893 P653
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Amongst the many laws of the Jewish Sabbath is the prohibition against writing. Because of this prohibition, synagogue members needed to invent creative alternatives in order to record donations pledged for various honors given during the synagogue services.
The synagogue members in Casale Monferrato chose to use pre-punched holes and thread. Each congregant was given a page of his own in this book. The page shown here was designated for Kalonymus Cantoni. When Kalonymus would make a verbal donation to the synagogue for a particular honor he had been given on the Sabbath (in this case, the Rabbi's Kaddish), a thread was inserted into the holes signifying the amount that he pledged. In this way, all verbal pledges would be duly noted and (hopefully) paid after the Sabbath.