The Shorashim Gallery, located in Tel Aviv, is an art school, gallery and auction house.
Many people bring their Judaica items to Shorashim in order to get an assessment of their value.
“We give them the value of the item and we also take the items to auctions,” said Shorashim manager Sima Simon. “At the auctions the prices usually go up.”
“Most of the people who have Judaica items at home,” she added, “do not know their value.”
Judaica items, Simon said, were not considered to be decorative items in the past, but rather items used in Jewish homes as part of rituals.
“Over the years, they became decorative items,” she said. “Judaica is now also appreciated by people around the world, even though the people who buy it are not necessarily Jewish. It has some appeal to collectors.”
Now, Shorashim in partnership with the hareidi-orthodox department at Ono College, has developed a special course to teach the rules and methods for appraising Judaica items.
“We would like people to know about the items they have in their homes and to know their origins,” Simon said. “I know that there are a lot of merchants of Judaica items around Israel, and they turn to us to teach them how to appraise the items they come across. We teach them about the elements that they have to study in order to discern between the old and the new and recognize what looks old but is not antique.”