Parochet Workshop @ Museum of Turkish Jews

The Quincentenial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews organized a ´Parochet Workshop´ on October 10-17, with the support of the International Shalom Corps, contributions of Ulus Jewish High School (UOML) and led by Nisya Isman Allovi, the Head and Curator of the Museum, and artist Eti Koen.
Parochet Workshop @ Museum of Turkish Jews

During the workshop where the 10th and 11th grade students of Ulus Jewish High School have attended voluntarily, firstly the parochet collection of the Museum and Neve Şalom Synagogue Foundation was examined.

After Nisya Işman Allovi gave information on the religious textile objects, the symbols used on the parochets were discussed.

Eti Koen has been working for a long time on her 'Fabric Fusion' technique she had developed in search of how to portray her admiration for the Ottoman and Turkish motifs to her work with fabrics. Since 1993 she has participated in many local and international, solo and joint exhibitions, with works where she weaved the Ottoman and Islam motifs, miniatures, historical and cultural textures via her own style.

Koen first gave the young people information about two different techniques for creating parochets. Then she led the way for the parochet, which she had detailed in advance, to be created and added to the museum collection with collaborative work.

This new parochet, themed 'Tree of Life' was created through embroidering the names of Jacob's twelve sons besides some chosen Spanish words from the Ladino dictionary, with calligraphic writing. While this new parochet ornated with birds and leaves made our young people get to know parochet which is one of our traditional religious textile products, the workshop also helped strengthen their ties with the community. The museum is giving letters of reference to young people who contribute to the volunteer projects.

Parochet workshop @ Museum of Turkish Jews

Among some of the workshop participants we talked to, Aylin Ocakoğlu stated that besides learning about the history of the parochets, she had a lot of fun during the event. Aviel Kohen expressed that even though he had seen parochet making in his family, he enjoyed discovering his dexterity throughout the workshop. Aviel Kohen saying "What we learned throughout the event, were not pieces of knowledge we could reach anytime, anywhere", wished that the museum would continue such activities aimed at young people.

The new parochet was exhibited in the Museum of Turkish Jews on October 24th, European Day of Jewish Culture, for the first time.

Parochet workshop @ Museum of Turkish Jews

What is a Parochet?

Parochet is the curtain made of valuable fabric, ornated with embroidery or silver accents, and hung in front of the Heichal (Aron Kodesh) where the Sefer Torah (Torah Scrolls) are kept. Many kinds of fabrics such as velvet, satin, linen can be used to make parochets.

It is possible to see different figures on the parochet such as the Ten Commandments Plate, crown composition, Magen David (Star of David), floral patterns, bird-like motifs, geometric patterns. On the parochet, there are also ornaments embroidered with various techniques.

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