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Biographical/Historical Information

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 name, 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.

The wimpel showcases the family tree of Ronald Frank Bloch, born January 28, 1944. Family members and geographic locations named on the wimpel include Sigmund Wolf (1844-1908) and Jeanette Levi (1855-1940) from Galingen, David Bloch (1830-1917) and Nanette Meier (1836-1926) from Sulzburg, Benno Hecht (1831-1913) and Rosa Kessel (1849-1901) from Schroda, and Isack Schmukler (1845-1905) and Frieda Schlossberg (1848-1921) from Strassburg Wert.

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Simon, Siegfried: Illustrated Wimpel for Ronald Frank Bloch, Leo Baeck Institute, 2018.24.