Wimpels date back to the Jews of Germany, particularly Southern Germany. After a boy's brith mila the mother would clean the cloth used as a swaddling cloth, cut it into segments of equal length and sew them together. It was then painted or embroidered with the infant's Hebrew nanme, date of birth, and the traditional blessing, "May God raise him to a life of Torah, marriage and good deeds." The wimpel would be presented to the synagogue as a Torah binder and be used on the boy's bar mitzva, thus turning it into a concrete, as well as symbolic, link between his confirmation of entering the covenant and his traditional coming of age.
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Painted Wimpel, Leo Baeck Institute, 61.130.