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Painting of a Jewish family traveling by wagon at sunset

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.278

Oil painting titled, “Jews rushing home for the Sabbath,” painted by Polish artist H. Pilsodtzky in approximately 1870. Shabbat (also known as the Sabbath) is the seventh day of the Jewish week, and is a day of rest. In accordance with the Hebrew calendar, which defines a day as the period from sunset to sunset, Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday and lasts until sundown on Saturday. One of the aspects of Shabbat is a prohibition on certain types of work, called “melachah.” There are 39 categories of “melachah” that observant Jews are not allowed to undertake on the Shabbat. Among these tasks are prohibitions on travel over a certain distance on foot, and travel by a mechanical device or animal-driven means of transportation, including cars, bicycles, or wagons. The painting shows a large Jewish family traveling home in a horse-drawn wagon as the sun sets. With Shabbat is fast approaching, the family is still mid-journey, in the middle of a barren landscape. If the sun sets before they reach their destination, it is implied that the observant family will have to stop and spend the following night and day stranded in the lifeless area because of the prohibition against “melachah.” The image frames this tenant of Jewish beliefs as impractical, and ridicules Judaism and Jews who adhere to the prohibitions on the Shabbat. The painting is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Artwork Title
Jews Rushing Home for Sabbath
creation:  approximately 1870
creation: Europe
Oil paintings.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2021-03-08 15:47:39
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