Mizrach Map, Amsterdam, 1903
This Mizrach map was illustrated in Nuremberg in 1903 and is part of the larger “Mizrach” picture. The map depicts Israel and its surroundings, which are divided into the tribal sections. Around the map are images, verses, and characters.
At the top of the map is the image of Moses holding the two tablets; around him are zodiac signs with the names of the months. On both sides of Moses are lions, next to which are globes with the names of the continents written in Hebrew.
In the centre of the map, the section of the tribe of Benjamin, there is a picture of Jerusalem above which is the inscription (in Hebrew) from Psalm 137: “If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill.” Around the edges of the map are verses in Hebrew relating to the memory of Jerusalem. On the left is the continuation of Psalm 137: “May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not raise Jerusalem, at the head of my joy.” On the right is the verse from Malachi 3:4: “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant to the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years.” The southern section of the map includes a dotted path marking the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to the Land of Israel.
Below the map are a variety of illustrations. On the left is a picture of the Binding of Isaac and on the right of the High Priest. At the bottom of the map there are depictions of the walls of Jerusalem, the Old City, and the Western Wall. The map also has illustrations of Rachel’s Tomb, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and many other Jewish symbols. Above the wall are portraits of famous Jewish characters. Sir Moses Montefiore is in the centre with the caption which translates as:
I came to greet Moses Montefiore, loyal delegate, mighty prince among us, so that it shall be known that he seeks the good of his people…buying land and estates for the salvation of our brothers.
On either side of Montefiore are two of the famous commentators from the Middle Ages, Maimonides and Abarbanel. Other images include the Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Akiva Eiger, the Maharal of Prague, the Chatam Sofer, Maharshal, and Rabbi Jonathan Eibeschitz among others.
Teachers of Jewish History can use the map to talk about the Land of Israel in biblical times or to study Montefiore’s contribution to the building of the Land of Israel from the mid- to late-nineteenth century.
Jewish Studies and Jewish History teachers can use the map to discuss the Jewish People’s ongoing connection to the land and Jerusalem and to teach about the famous personalities who appear on the map.
The map can also be shown by Geography teachers when teaching about ancient maps and cartography.
Finally Art teachers can use this to discuss Judaica art and the Mizrach illustrations. In addition, this resource can be an example of use of images and texts in maps.
Where was the map drawn and when?
What famous sites can you find on the map?
What period is depicted on the map?
What is the connection to Jewish history?
What verses can be found on the map?
From which sources are those verses taken?
Who are the personalities portrayed on the map?
How is the path of the Israelites from Egypt to Israel depicted?
Describe the illustrations surrounding the map.
Reading Between the Lines
What do you think the main theme of the map is?
Justify your answer.
This map was part of a “Mizrach” picture.
What is the meaning of the word Mizrach and its significance in Judaism?
Where do you think the map was hung?
Sir Moses Montefiore appears at the centre of a group of famous Jewish personalities.
Why do you think Montefiore was given such an honour?
The map includes sites that are connected to Jewish history.
Choose two examples.
How are these sites connected to Jewish history?
Why do you think these sites are depicted on the map?
What was the role of the personalities who are depicted at the bottom of the map?
Why do you think that they were chosen?
Sir Moses Montefiore is different from the other figures portrayed on the map.
In what way is he different?
Why do you think he was nonetheless included in the map?
Find three alternative quotes, from any sources, that you think are suitable for a map like this.
Why did you choose these quotes?
Choose one twentieth-century personality from your country who deserves to be portrayed on a map like this.
Why did you choose this person?