For thousands of years, Jews used simple tapered wooden sticks to point the way through the densely written text of the Torah without touching the fragile parchment. But over the millennia, the yad — pointer — has developed into a unique art form. While some are still carved out of wood, others are now shaped from silver or graphite, and even ornamented with gold, ivory and jewels.
The yad has thus become an artistic chronicle of how Jews read and relate to the Torah, a story you can explore in a wide-ranging exhibition of more than 200 pointers of all styles and national origins, some up to 400 years old.
Thanks to the generosity of Marilyn and Jay Weinberg, Temple Beth El will host the national tour of the Clay Barr Yad Exhibit through February 2020. The Torah pointers in this exhibit are part of the Barr family's magnificent private collection. Many thanks to the Boca Raton Museum of Art for use of its display cases.