Megilat Ester [Scroll of Esther]

Photograph of partially unrolled scroll against a black background. The scroll is housed in an ornate wooden case. Four columns of text are visible on the unrolled paper.

Megilat Ester [Scroll of Esther]. c. 1940. Jerusalem: Bezalel School of Art.
Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica, Special & Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida.
Gift of Miriam Finegold Price.

The biblical book of Esther recounts the story of the salvation of the Jews in the Persian Empire, most likely during the reign of Xerxes I (486-465 BCE). It is read aloud in synagogues during services for the holiday of Purim. From the early modern period into modern times, scrolls of the book of Esther have served as a vehicle for Jewish artistic expression. This special scroll and case were produced by the Bezalel School of Art in Palestine. The case is carved from original burled olive wood, and engraved with depictions of the Western wall in the old city of Jerusalem. The Hebrew word for “Jerusalem” written with the final letter yod dates it to the 1940s.