The Collection of Ritual Silver


This collection consists of items once owned by Sir Moses Montfiore, together with other pieces of ritual silver given by him and by his admirers for use in his Ramsgate synagogue.

Also included are two huge silver testimonials, one presented to Sir Moses by the Board of Deputies of British Jews on his return to London after interceding to rescue the Jews of Damascus, and the other presented to him by the son of the Khedive of Egypt whom the Montefiores had befriended in Alexandria and later entertained in London.
Unfortunately the great value of these exquisite pieces of silver is such that, for fear of damage or theft, only on very rare occasions can they be used as intended in a synagogue. Three sets of the finest eighteenth-century rimonim (Torah finials) are on temporary loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, where they may be seen in its gallery of ritual silver. The two large silver testimonials, also on temporary loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, are exhibited in its main silver gallery. Three further sets of superb rimonim are on temporary loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, where they are prominently displayed. Some items, such as the silver and ivory pointers pictured below, have been included in exhibitions at the British Library, London, and elsewhere.

A catalogue, with photographs taken by Dr. Oliver Samuel, is attached to this website.

Access to items in the Collection not on display in museums is rarely given, due to necessary security precautions. Scholars and antiquarians with particular interest should apply to the Secretary of the Montefiore Endowment

You can browse the collection of ritual silver on this website.

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