In my community, there are women who make tallitot – for themselves, or for others – often for a special occasion, such as a bar/bat mitzvahComing of age, one responsible for the commandments. At the age of thirteen for a boy and twelve for a girl, s/he obtains the age of Jewish majority and is obligated to all the commandments. Usually celebrated with an aliyah to the Torah and other festivities. In many communities both bar and bat mitzvah are celebrated at age 13. The plural of bar mitzvah is b'nei mitzvah. The plural of bat mitzvah is b'not mitzvah.. Some are woven on looms, some are made of handpainted silk, some are quilted. I dedicate this poem to them and to all women everywhere who are crafters of tallitot.
These are the women of the shawl,
walking with the TorahThe Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general.,
Light shining from within.
Each one a stunning work of art
made with loving hands –
young hands with quick, nimble fingers,
older hands slowed by arthritis.
Each one crafted with special care –
woven, painted quilted.
Each one telling a unique story –
a geometric pattern,
images of JerusalemLit. City of peace From the time of David to the Roman destruction, Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and the spiritual and governmental center of the Jewish people. During the long exile, Jews longed to return to Jerusalem and wrote poems, prayers, and songs about the beloved city. In 1967, with the capture of the Old City, Jerusalem was reunited, becoming "the eternal capital of Israel." Still, the longing for peace is unfulfilled., the holy city –
image of our foremothers
singing and dancing –
the four directions, the four seasons,
and everywhere we turn,
the seasons of the soul.
I watch them walk with the Torah
and I feel the shawl
that is wrapped around my shoulders –
and deep inside me, deep within,
I feel the shawl
that is woven in my bones.
And deep inside me, deep within,
I feel my heartbeat dancing
to the music of my soul.