Linda’s tallit

Both of Linda’s parents were born in Europe. Lester, Linda’s father was born in a little country town in Austria.  Lester was an intensely sweet man. If you met him on the street he would be sure to send you off with a  little word of wisdom, like a benediction. Lacy, as those who loved him , called him, spent WWII in Shanghai.
Linda’s mother, Herta, grew up in Berlin. She  is worldly and sophisticated and has a great raunchy sense of humor. Herta is over 90 and she sends me really dirty jokes by email.  If you have ever gotten a forward of a really dirty joke from me, I probably got it from Herta.  Herta is a smart cookie. when we were both serving on my synagogue board I usually  would find out Herta’s opinions on serious matters before voting. Even if I didn’t agree with her,  she always had an important to conscider point of view.  Herta too spent the war in Shanghai. Herta and Lacy didn’t meet until they both arrived in New York after the war.

Several years ago, about ten years after Lacy ad died, Linda wanted a new tallit. She brought me a sweet Chinese made tiny tallit that her father had worn for a while. the corner pieces were covered in that lovely, flat Chinese floral embroidery. it was clearly a tallit that had belonged to someone else because the verse on the neckband referred to Benjamin rather than to Eliezer, Lester’s Hebrew name. The Chinese tallit was sweet and perfect so we decided to just leave it as it was.

Linda had also mentioned a piece of Chinese brocade that her mother had brought with her to New York. I had never seen such fine brocade work with so may colors and such a refined pattern. we thought that we would use the brocade as the “stripe ‘ of the tallit and then add a white silk for the body of the tallit.

Linda and I went shopping for the white silk. As we went from store to store nothing we found looked quite right.  At the time B+J still has their wonderful remnant table. Among the wonderful remnants was a small length of dark purple Austrian cotton velveteen. Not only did it look perfect, it also combined with the Chinese brocade told the story of how Linda came into this world.
I had lined Linda’s tallit in metallic/silk crinkle organza. it isn’t a very strong fabric ( but it does look amazing). The lining is beginning to wear out.  I am going to replace the lining with a stronger metallic/silk shantung.
Linda started rabbinical school around the time that I made her this tallit. Herta used to tell me that she would wear a tallit when Linda graduated from rabbinical school. Linda graduates in May. I am making Linda a new tallit for her ordination. A few weeks ago, Herta brought me Lester’s little Chinese tallit to see if it needed any work. The tallit is in fine shape and Herta will begin wearing Lester’s tallit in May.


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