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Brides and Betrothals: Jewish Wedding Rituals in Afghanistan

October 14, 1997-May 2, 1998
Location: Unspecified location
Curator: Rivka Gonen and Noam Bar'am-Ben Yosef
The exhibition Brides and Betrothals: Jewish Wedding Rituals in Afghanistan opened a window to the cultural world of the Jews of Afghanistan, part of the larger body of Khorasan Jewry, which includes the Jews of eastern Iran and parts of Central Asia. According to tradition, the first Jews settled in the area after the Assyrian exile, but tangible evidence of their existence there dates only to the 4th Century. For centuries, these Jews lived in total isolation from other Jewish communities. The community was presented in the exhibition through the special and colorful traditions of the Jews of Herat in western Afghanistan, who preserved more than other communities the older traditions and life styles. The objects on display included colorful reconstructions of various ceremonies such as betrothal, wedding, the wedding party and the presentation of the dowry, as well as the traditional celebration of Simhat Torah.