The Guiding Hand: The Barr Foundation Collection of Torah Pointers

by | Mar 24, 2022 | What’s Happening

March 24–August 14, Chrysler Museum of Art

The extensive collection of Torah pointers assembled by Clay Barr is the first exhibition of Judaica at the Chrysler Museum of Art in several decades. Approximately 150 Torah pointers, or yads, from the Barr Foundation collection are included in the months long exhibit. The yads range in size from a few inches to more than two feet in length.

“I am so keen for as many people as possible to see what I have spent 27 years assembling,” says Clay Barr. The collection is in her late husband, Jay Barr’s memory. “I was inspired by his gift to Beth El in January of 1994, six months prior to his death, of two antique Torah pointers he had purchased at Sotheby’s in New York City. Losing him at such a young age and determining to honor him in perpetuity, like an epiphany, I had the thought of building a yad collection.”

Originally, Barr says she “emulated Jay’s choice by purchasing antique pieces.” However, before too long in the project, recalling their shared love of art and the many contemporary artists they had befriended in their years together, her focus shifted to encouraging the creation of outstanding Judaica by artists working in a variety of fields.

The Barr Collection contains works by jewelers, sculptors, furniture makers, craftspeople, glass blowers, and ceramicists, among others.

Many opportunities are planned for guided tours. In addition to contacting local synagogues, contact the Chrysler Museum or go to to see some examples of the collection.