Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Magic of Challah

A customer in the UK asked me to make a special card for her granddaughter's Bat Mitzvah. She thought that it might be nice to show a Siddur (a Jewish prayer book containing a set order of daily prayers) and some candles, but otherwise it was left to me to come up with something appropriate. My favourite kind of commission!
Bat Mitzvah literally means "daughter of commandment." When a girl reaches 12 years old she becomes a "bat mitzvah" and is recognised by Jewish tradition as having the same rights as an adult. She will begin to use her prayer book on a regular basis and, since every family has different customs regarding the lighting of the Shabbat candles, the young lady will either light one Shabbat candle until she marries, or will start lighting Shabbat candles every Friday night.
I also showed a plaited Challah and a cup of sweet red Kiddush wine on the card.  Most people think of challah as that special, yummy, plaited bread eaten after the Kiddush and before the Friday night and Saturday meals, but it really represents so much more. "Challah" is actually the piece of dough that is removed from the loaf before it is plaited, not the plaited bread loaf itself. After the challah was removed it was traditionally given as a sacrifice to the Holy Priest representing a consecration to God, but in modern times it is either burnt in the oven or frozen and then thrown away. The separation of the challah is one the 613 mitzvot (commandments of Jewish law) that contribute toward creating a Jewish life. Additionally, it is one of the three primary commandments of the Jewish woman and thus my reason for including it on this Bat Mitzvah card.
I hope that Grandma liked the different images I came up with and that the Bat Mitzvah girl understood the meaning behind them. For those of you who follow my Facebook page, you might be interested to learn that this is the card that took a looooong time to reach it's destination, frustrating me somewhat. However, all's well that ends well. It got there in the end. 


ARTiMAGINE said...


its a very apt card for the occasion...

not only do i get entertained and inspired by your art, but i also look forward to reading your story/background about it...