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Biographical/Historical Information

Gershom Scholem, born Gerhard Scholem in 1897 in Berlin, was a philosopher and historian. Scholem emigrated to Jerusalem in 1923 to teach at Hebrew University. He is notable for spreading knowledge of Jewish mysticism. He died in Jerusalem in 1982.

Death masks are casts taken of a person's face following their death. Casts were often made from wax, clay, or plaster and were primarily used to remember the dead. The process has roots in Egyptian mummification and Mycenean Greek traditions. After the middle ages, death masks were made of prominent figures to be saved for display. Later, casts were taken of unknown corpses for future identification. Death masks were eventually replaced by photography.

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Brodsky, Ralph Howard: Death Mask of Gershom Scholem, Leo Baeck Institute, 86.44.