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Kern Family Tefillin Bag and Wimpel

Identifier: B189


Sarah Kahn made a traditional wimpel--from the swaddling cloths of Yaakov Ben Naftali Kahn--in Boppard, Germany, in 1899. When the Kahn family came to America in 1938 they changed their name to Kern. In 1940, Charles Kern, Yaakov's brother, married Edith Stern in New York City and the couple moved to Denver, Colorado. Edith Stern was born in Germany in 1914 and emigrated to the United States in 1935. She died in Denver in 2016 at the age of 101.


  • 1895 - 1930


Biographical / Historical

The wimple was developed in early medieval Europe and is a female headdress worn to cover the hair of married women. Traditional Jewish wimpels (note the spelling difference) are made from the swaddling cloths used at the ritual circumcision of male Jewish babies. The wimple was then used as a wrapping for the Torah--typically given when at the childs third birthday--though there are also traditions where the groom donates his wimple after his wedding. The wimple in this collection was for Yaakov ben Naftali Kahn from Boppard, Germany. The intricately embroidered wimpel was donated by his sister-in-law Edith Kern. Translated from the Hebrew, the wimpel reads, "Ya'akov son of Naftali the Cohen was born with good fortune on Sunday, the 19th of Iyar 5659. May God raise him to the Torah and the Ḽupah and to good deeds. Amen, selah." (Sunday, April 30, 1899)


3.75 Linear Feet (2 containers) : print box and newspaper box

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a wimple, a book of flowers from Palestine (c. 1925), and a Tefillin bag.


Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
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