My Diary: Hearts, Arts and Sounds

Tallit Shoftim

by Sharon on July 23, 2013

I am thrilled that I have had the privilege to make a tallit for a dear temple friend: Meril.  She is a very sweet lady and also a piano student of mine.  Her torah portion is called “Shoftim”, meaning “Judges”.  In this portion, Moses talks to the Jewish people about Rabbinical law, appointing Judges and words of the prophets.

I searched for many interpretations of Shoftim and really enjoyed Rabbi Weinreb’s metaphors: he compares a human being to a tree.  Here are a few quotes that really stand out for me:

“King David himself in the very first chapter of Psalms compares the righteous person to a tree. “He is like a tree planted beside streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, whose foliage never fades, and whatever he does prospers.” Of all the metaphors available to the psalmist to paint the picture of the good man, the tree is the one he finds most fitting.”

“But he whose deeds exceed his wisdom, to what can he be compared? To a tree whose branches are few but whose roots are many, so that even if all the winds of the worlds beset him, they cannot move him from his place…” (Avot 3:22)

“The righteous person is like a tree beside a stream. The ethical man of action who puts his wisdom into practice has deep roots which give him confidence and security.”

“But there is a happier connection between people and trees, and that is through the Torah, which is itself compared to a tree, the tree of life; “eitz chaim hi.”

“Indeed, “Man is like the tree of the field,” withering or able to thrive, depending on one’s own life circumstances.”

These quotes really hit home for me.  Every day I strive to strengthen my ‘roots’ through teachings of Torah, good deeds, healthy living…and of course, art and music…I see many people in my life who strive for the same strength and growth…and as our roots strengthen, flowers and leaves appear in the form of happiness, prosperity and abundance…it is truly happening all around me!!

I suggested to Meril that her tallit could have a Tree Of Life and she was very excited about this image.  She told me that she loves earth colors…. I sketched out an image that stood out for me….and she loved it ….

I got to work right away because I was excited too.. this was a really fun project…a lot of detail and design but well worth the effort!

So here is a picture of the finished tallit: a tree with huge roots and very green leaves surrounded by Torah…

Shoftim Tallit

I wish for everyone to strengthen their own roots and make healthy decisions every day…what a world it would be if this were so!!


Tallit: Parshat Re’eh

by Sharon on July 2, 2013

Sharon Tallit 1Sharon Tallit Central ImageSharon Tallit Bag

Well, I started to look into the Torah portion for my Bat Mitzvah: Parshat Re’eh…

When I was a young girl, I wanted a Bat Mitzvah..I didn’t understand why boys had them but not girls…I loved Judaism and wanted so much to participate…not having my Bat Mitzvah when I was young left me feeling like a spectator.

I want to stress that I am not placing blame on my parents….traditions were different at that time.

At age 36, I decided to gift myself a gift and have my Bat Mitzvah….if was a beautiful and meaningful event for me.

Parshat Re’eh carries much significance … I read several interpretations of this portion and what stood out for me was a commentary from called “God Is Watching”.  In this portion of the Torah, Moses tells the Jewish people to “do what is good and right in the eyes of God” (Deuteronomy 12:28).

This commentarys talk about how so many of us care too much about what other people think…while all that matters is what God thinks….God is everywhere…God loves us…

So, to explain the images on my tallit….

My image of God is often female…the center image on my tallit speaks to me of the love I feel from my God – like a mother to a child.  The Torahs on the ends of the tallit are decorated and the words on the breastplate are “Ani L’Dodi”, a quote from the song of songs meaning “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”…my husband and I shared this quote with one another at our wedding.  The purple tallit bag has my Hebrew name on it.  When I finished thistallit, I knew it was the right one for me..

I put it on and felt loved and safe and protected….and close to God….mission accomplished!

Now, I am getting ready to start a new tallit for a very dear woman…I will keep you posted!

Bye for now…



Tallit For Molly

by Sharon on June 27, 2013

Tallit Molly Sample Resized

Molly’s Bat Mitzvah Torah portion is called, “Terumah” which translates to “offerings”.  This parsha talks about building a tabernacle for God.  After reviewing several interpretations, I enjoyed Rabbi Perry Neller’s view.  He explains that God is asking the Jewish people to give back by creating a place of worship…Rabbi Neller refers to this place as “holiness in space”.  I feel that it is so important to give back..I have been given so many blessing and gifts in my life.  When I give back to others, I feel full inside.

So, after conferring with my daughter, we came up with the above image…

My daughter is quite a wonderful artist and had a very clear image as to what she wanted.  Clouds were not easy for me to paint on silk, because the paint spreads very quickly.  After many trials and much negotation, I was able to finally come up  with white mountainous clouds that actually turned out to be quite effective.

That’s it for now…more to come!! Have a great week!



I’m Back!

by Sharon on June 12, 2013

Well…it’s been a long time since I’ve checked in…you know how life has its twists and turns….but it’s good to be back!

It seems like painting on silk is my passion these days…and lately, an opportunity fell into my lap!…I was asked to paint a ‘tallit’ for a sweet young girl who is having her Bat Mitzvah this August.

For those of you who don’t know what a ‘tallit’ is, here is a brielf explanation (from Wikipedia):

“A tallit is a Jewish prayer shawl. The tallit is worn over the outer clothes during prayer. It has special twined and knotted fringes, known as ‘tzitzit’ attached to its four corners. A ‘tallit is often worn by children on their bar/bat mitzvahs.

The process of designing this tallit has been a wonderful learning experience. Not only am I learning a new skill, but I am learning more about my Jewish heritage and growing spiritually as a result. I am looking forward to showing you pictures of the tallit after the young girl has her Bat Mitzvah in August.

In the meantime, I got so excited about the process of making a tallit, that I designed one for my husband and here is a picture:

Jene's Talit Cropped Small

My husband did not have a Bar Mitzvah when he was younger, but I did some research online to find out what Torah Portion (parsha) my husband would have had at age 13 on his birthday….and it turned out to be “Devarim”.

Devarim is the hebrew word for “words”.  It is the 44th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the first in the book of Deuteronomy.

I did some research and gathered many interpretations of this portion and I particularly enjoyed Rabbi James Jacobson Maisel’s explanation:

Rabbi Meisel basicly states that in this portion, Moses has sent spies to the promised land to check it out.  The spies come back and say that the promised land seems wonderful, but the Jewish people are still hesitant to go there.  They have been wandering the desert for 40 years and this lifestyle has become familiar to them.  They are afraid to move on and take the risk.  Moses talks to the Jewish people and recounts with them many of the expereiences over the past 40 years.  He reminds the Jewish people that they have the Ten Commandments and they have overcome many obstacles.  It is time to move on…to take the risk.

I was so moved by this interpretation because I think that it is so pertinent to many of us…it is scary to try new things…to take a risk…but so necessary.

So, after bringing this interpretation to my husband, he was excited too…and that is how we came up with the tallit.  It is a picture of a man taking a leap of faith off a cliff…but he is surrounded by Torah and the ten commandments…he will be OK…it is time to move forward.

Now, I am painting a tallit for my daughter…more info to come…I’ll keep you posted….

Have a wonderful day filled with creativity!!