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They're Tabula Ansatas. After doing some research I found out they're actually Roman Tabula Ansatas, a favorite form of votive tablets in Imperial Rome. They were ornamental tablets used in sacred and religious places by the Romans. This claim is given by Wikipedia's entry on Tabula Ansata, in the gallery. This is backed by the book "Lord Burlington: ...


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I believe it is realted to the fact that years back many people didnt know how to read or didnt own a siddur so the chazzan was the one who read on behalf of the kehal



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