A decorative Torah mantle or case protects the scroll when it is stored. Cloth Torah mantles are part of the Ashkenazic tradition. Hard Torah cases are part of the Sephardic tradition. This mantle is dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Pastinsky, wife of Rabbi Nathan Pastinsky.
Used by David Matlin; apprenticed under his father Simon, who was a master tailor from Liverpool, England. The family immigrated to Winnipeg in 1907, when David was seventeen, he became a ladies' coat and dress designer, working in clothing factories in Winnipeg and Vancouver for over 50 years. He moved to Vancouver in 1952 and spent the last 35 years of his life there. This sewing machine was used in David Matlin's home.
In Vancouver, early twentieth century Jewish immigrants, who arrived from Russia, Romania, Poland, and Germany may not have been able to speak English, but they shared the Yiddish language. Developed in the late Middle Ages as a mix of Hebrew, German and Slavic languages, Yiddish was the common language of Eastern European Jews. In Strathcona, it was the language spoken in Jewish homes and in the sermons at the Synagogue.
Besides being the first recorded Jewish person to arrive in British Columbia, Alexander Aaron Phillips was Victoria's first baker of "Passover Bread" (matzoh), which he sold all over Vancouver Island and the state of Washington. In the fall of 1858 he opened the Pioneer Syrup, Soda and Cider Works. ALexander Phillips was the second president of Temple Emanu-El, a founding member of a local Masonic Lodge and Odd Fellows Lodge, as well as a member of the ST. George's Society and the British Columbia Benevolent Association.
John Mahrer, an immigrant from Prague, opened a brewery in Nanaimo, a coal mining centre and port that is located north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. When the brewery amalgamated with the Union Brewery in 1891, Mahrer became its manager and master brewer. Mahrer was on the Nanaimo City Council for eight years and belonged to several charitable organizations as well as the city's band. John and Louise Mahrer's home and the Nanaimo Opera House, which John built, were the centres of Nanaimo's cultural life at the time.
A decorative shield is placed over the mantle, symbolizing the breastplate of the High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem. Evelyn Toban donated this ornament to Congregation Schara Tzedeck in honour of the ninetieth birthday of Harry Toban. As Schara Tzedeck's president in the 1940's, Harry Toban led the synagogue's move from Heatley Street in Vancouver's East End neighbourhood of Strathcona to Oak street in Fairview neighbourhood, South Vancouver.