Perhaps in anticipation of "Weekend Reflections" this old carving was displayed with a mirror behind it at the Jewish Art Museum in Jerusalem's Hechal Shlomo.
The traditional Jewish prayer and study lectern or podium is called by its better Yiddish name: shtender.
Like most Yiddish words, it does not translate well.
When you are praying and studying the holy books all day and half of the night, like the yeshiva "seminarians" do, you really need a shtender.
When you get tired of sitting, you stand; when you get tired of standing, you sit.
The shtender rocks with you. The shtender leans with you. Or, it stands firm when it has to.
It has room inside and on top to hold your many books.
There's even a footrest.
Soon, just before sunset, it will be time to light the candles and welcome the Sabbath.
The old wooden Jew from long ago joins me in wishing you Shabbat shalom, Sabbath peace.
Update: I went back to the museum this week and was surprised to see that the man at the shtender was a lot smaller than I had remembered him from my first visit. Funny how things "grow on you."
UPDATE Jan. 2015: Everything you ever wanted to know about shtenders at the You're Not Crazy blog.