This plate has been in my life for as long as I can remember.
The beautiful lettering spells my name in Hebrew I spiraling line emerges from the first letter of my name and becomes the spinning path of a dreidle. I love the dynamic energy of the design. I also always admired her sure and beautiful handwriting. It’s just gorgeous.
This plate was made for me. As a Chanukah gift from my parent’s friend Rivka. as you can read on the back of the plate it was given to me in 1963. I was two.
My sisters each got their own plate with their own names cleverly incorporated into a Chanukah design. I remember eating latkes from these plates when I was very, very little.
Rivka and her husband Shlomo taught in the Hebrew School in Quincy from 1958 until I think 1964. My parents and Rivka and Shlomo were deeply fond of one another. While they lived in Quincy, Shlomo completed his BS degree and also got his engineering degree from MIT.
After they left Quincy they both went on to both have successful careers in their chosen professions. I last saw then in perhaps 1965 when we visited them in their apartment in Queens.
My parents visited them at their beautiful home in the mid 1980’s. When I exhibited my work a couple of weeks ago, one of the people who visited my booth was a dear friend of Rivka’s. She gave Rivka my phone number and we spoke.
The last time she saw me, I was essentially a toddler…but yet we spoke as if we had last seen one another a few weeks ago. I loved how her story of her time in Quincy was the same as my parents’ story of their relationship, of people who for a period of time become family to one another.
The conversation felt like a gift. I also realize as I look at this delightful plate that the way Rivka combined text and image was deeply influential in my worn work.
We are taught in Pirke Avot that we need to acknowledge or teachers even if we just learn a verse or a word or even one letter from them. So I want to thank Rivka for teaching me a playful way to create a ritual object out of just an object. Rivka’s decoration turned a simple ceramic plate into a way for a child to engage with the rituals and customs of Chanukah.