Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Summer of My Jewishness

Summer has arrived in Pennsylvania.  Only a few more weeks until the official start of summer.  But it is really summer for me.  I sent off the manuscript for my next book.  I can't reveal yet the topic of the book, but let's say it will be more of a technique book than a project book.  I spent the last 3 months writing and creating practically 7 days a week.  So now that it is winging its way to Washington state, I am free!  Actually free to start on my next project. 

It is interesting that this coincides with the airing of my episode on The Quilt Show.  One of the segments was about Jewish ritual textiles and my Oy Vey! patterns.  I received quite a few e-mails that showed an interest in learning more.  Let me say it right here that my knowledge of Judaism is more through tradition than study.  Anything I write about is from my point of view.  My challenge when working on a piece of Judaica is to find inspiration.  Sometimes that's from a story, a symbol or a ritual.  In the past the inspiration has come from such Jewish tenants as "healing the world", the "tree of life"  and "from generation to generation". 

My next project is an ark curtain for a synagogue in Easton, MD.  I have already made 3 torah covers for B'nai Israel.   They must like my work because they have invited me to make the "parochet", the ark curtain.  The ark is the place in a temple where the torah(s) is kept.  Traditionally the ark has this curtain covering the opening.  Sometimes the curtain is behind wooden doors and sometimes in front of wooden doors and sometimes there are no doors.  Basically there are no rules.  The ark is often the centerpiece and focus of the synagogue and you can imagine that it should be majestic because it holds the scrolls with our story.

So I am making this the summer of my Jewishness. I want to immerse myself in learning about the stories that make Judaism such a rich and ritualistic religion.   I want to soak in all of the Judaic art that I can.  I need to design and create an amazing ark curtain.  So I need to read and study to develop my inspiration.  I will share this journey.  And in the process I hope to make an ark curtain worthy of gracing the ark of B'nai Israel.

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