Revisiting an older piece

The Solomon Schechter school is sharing it's prayer space with Minyan Hadar, an independent Jewish religious community.A few years ago I was asked to make this Torah mantle for Minyan Hadar.

One of the things that really distinguishes Minyan Hadar is the deep relationship they have with the words of the traditional prayers. So, in creating this piece I  asked the members of the community to tell me the biblical verses that linked them as individuals either to community or to Torah. I painted each of those verses onto the the silk shantung of the mantle. It's a quiet piece.

The mantle looks beautiful with the parochet.

Several of the verses they chose came from the Sh'ma.I painted those verses into the center of the mantle into a sort of "breastplate"

I loved being able to see these two pieces, not designed together, working so well with one another.


  1. I also see that you painted the verses in Hebrew right? What a stunning piece! Would you mind posting some of the references to the verses? Do people typically do that? I'm fascinated with this piece. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is not a typical Torah mantle design at all.

    What I try to do in my work is think about the role religious object takes in ritual and then create a piece that enhances the role of the object in the ritual.I see my job ans attempting to intensify religious experience by getting the user to see the ritual in a new and fresh way each time they use one of my pieces.

    Before the Torah scroll is taken out to be read in a public reading, the ark is opened and a collection of Psalms and verses are sung. often at that point personal prayers are recited. Then the Scroll is carried through the congrecation. this piece had to work both from far away and close up. I wanted some words/ verses to be obious and others less so , to be discovered during some later interaction with the Torah scroll.

    i can't remember all of the verses people selected but several of them came from Deuteronomy 6: 5-9 . I wrote those verses in the center of the piece where a silver breastplate would be. Given that this community didn't at that point have Torah silver, the silver txt served as the silver breastplate. Now they actually have a lovely silver breast plate.

    As I recall, there were about 30 verses all together. I loved the whole process of making this piece. I loved coming up with the idea. doing the calligraphy on the various shades of blue silk with the various shades of etallic dye/paint was wonderful. even the lining of the piece is great ( an African cotton with a print of honeycomb and grapes)


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