This is an atara which is attached to the top of a tallit (prayer shawl). This atara was created in Galicia in the eighteenth or nineteenth century and currently belongs to the collections of the Lviv Museum of Ethnography and Crafts in Lviv, Ukraine. The atara is embroidered with metallic thread in a floral pattern. An atara often contains the words of the blessing (bracha) that is recited by the wearer of the tallit. The purpose of the atara is to decorate the tallit and to ensure that it stays in place. This decoration is not required by Jewish law, and not all tallitot have one.
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Tallit (Prayer Shawl) – A tallit is a large garment that is worn over the clothing during morning prayers. A tallit katan refers to the smaller garment that is worn underneath one’s clothing. Both garments are square or rectangular and have tzitzit (fringes) tied to the four corners. Many tallitot are made of white woolen material with black stripes; however, nowadays, tallitot are designed in a variety of colours and designs. The tzitzit contain a total of 613 knots, representing the traditional number of 613 mitzvot (commandments). The biblical source of wearing tzitzit comes from Numbers 15:38: “Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the ages; let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner.” Different traditions exist regarding when a tallit is first worn: some begin wearing a tallit when reaching the age of bar mitzvah, while others begin after marriage. Traditionally, a tallit is only worn by men, but in some communities it has become customary for women to wear a tallit.