Sam recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah and so I am now able to show you the customised album I created for him. Sam's Aunty ordered the album and told me that he has quite eccentric tastes. He likes The Beatles, plays the electric guitar and is in a band, though she couldn't tell me the band's name as apparently it keeps changing! He is a fan of Star Wars and of the music of Paul Simon and The Beach Boys, and is very good at art. She wanted me to include his school's badge too.
I have shown Sam with his guitar in one hand and a couple of pencils in the other. The guitar required quite a lot of attention to detail but I think I got it just about right!
I embellished several pages inside the album. Each page, like the cover, has a blue striped tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) on it. Many boys begin to wear a tallit from the age of Bar Mitzvah, 13. The reason why the tallit is striped is simply because that was the fashion in Greece and Rome in Biblical times. However, the stripes remind us of the strand of techelet (blue) once worn as part of the tzitzit, the special knotted fringes attached to the tallit's four corners. The Torah (the first part of the Jewish bible and a central document of Judaism) commands that tzitzis contain a thread of tichales (blue), which in former times came from an animal called the chilazone, thought to have been either a squid or a type of snail. In memory of this dye it became customary to place a blue or black stripe on the tallit itself.
In addition to the tallit, each embellished page took on a theme. Sam likes the British comedy Jeeves and Wooster, above, so one page included the programme's title card and the iconic hats of the two main characters. There was also a page devoted to several of the Star Wars characters, Paul Simon and The Beach Boys, Sam's school and lastly, his guitar once again.
Sam's Aunty said she thought the album was "fantastic". I hope that Sam liked it too!