Ritual and Ceremonial Objects Used in the Synagogue

Ritual objects play an important role in Jewish life. They are used for daily observance, prayer, and holiday celebration. Our sages have always encouraged use of the most beautiful ritual objects possible to fulfill a mitzvah. Over the centuries, Jewish artisans have produced magnificent candlesticks for Shabbat and the festivals, beautiful challah and matzah covers, illuminated Haggadot, Omer scrolls (for counting the days between Passover and Shavuot), chanukkiyot; Seder plates, etrog containers, and a myriad of other objects used to enhance Jewish ritual.

The ritual objects used in daily Jewish life and those used in the synagogue provide added richness to our tradition. For many of the objects, specific regulations have been created determining how they are to be made.

These rules differed from community to community, since we were never monolithic in our customs, and we have always been influenced by our surrounding cultures. By the eleventh century, customs between two particular groups, Sephardic and Ashkenazic, had changed markedly.

[From The Book of Jewish Knowledge: 613 Basic Facts about Judaism by Rabbi David E. Lipman, used with permission of the author]


  • Siddur (prayerbook)
  • Chumash (Torah)

Tallit (prayer shawl)

Kippah (yarmulke or skullcap)

Torah scroll

  • What is a Sefer Torah?
  • How is a Sefer Torah made?
  • Who made read the Sefer Torah?
  • mantle (cover)
  • breastplate
  • rimonim or crown
  • yad (pointer)

Click here for a description on how to have an aliyah, complete with instructions for fulfilling the ritual and the blessings recited.

Ner Tamid (eternal light)

Megillah (scroll of Book of Esther)


Tzedakah Box (charity box)


Luchot (Ten Commandments tablets)