The new SCJS lecture series on Zoom got off to a great start on Sunday, November 26th with are our first featured speaker, Stav Appel, whose remarkable search into the connection between Tarot cards and hidden Jews riveted attendees at the recent 3rd annual conference in El Paso.
Titled “The Torah in the Tarot”, his talk presented the lens-shattering thesis that the original Tarot de Marseille, the artistic ancestor of contemporary Tarot cards, served as a tool for clandestine Jewish education during the centuries long exile of Jews from French public life. When the oldest known version of the Tarot de Marseille – the Jean Noblet of 1650 Paris – is viewed through a Judaic lens of understanding, it is revealed to be a secret vessel for Hebrew letters, Torah stories, Judaic ritual objects and Jewish Holy Days.
Using slides in the compelling visual presentation, Apprl explained how the comprehensive and systematic depiction of Judaica in the Jean Noblet Tarot reveals the oldest known version of the Tarot de Marseille to be an artifact of crypto-Judaism and an unrecognized masterpiece of cryptography and world religious art.
The recognition of intentional Judaic imagery in the oldest known version of the Tarot de Marseille refutes the popular understanding that the numeric resonance between the Tarot’s 22 illustrated images and the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet is mere coincidence, as claimed in Michael Dummett’s “The Game of Tarot”and Stuart Kaplan’s “The Encyclopedia of Tarot.” Furthermore, it suggests that the entire genre of Tarot history may be suffering from a Judaic blind spot.
Stav Appel is a data scientist who manages an independent consulting firm which helps business clients find actionable insights concealed in large data sets. He has an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA from SUNY Binghamton. He is the author of the self-published work ‘The Torah in the Tarot’ and is a frequent speaker at community centers, bookstores, and synagogues about the lost and forgotten Judaica of the Tarot de Marseille.
He maintains a popular Instagram account @torah.tarot with over 23k followers. More information can be found at: www.TorahTarot.com