Happy New Year! I hope that your 2014 is starting out well.
Ro'i celebrated his Bar Mitzvah last month and his Mum, a regular customer and a dear friend of mine, wanted an album for him. If you look closely you will see that I squeezed his album into my "Best of 2013", even though I had not yet written about it. It was definitely one of my favourite albums of last year.
Ro'i's Bar Mitzvah celebration was held on Shabbat (the Sabbath), straight after the ceremony in the synagogue, and according to Jewish law writing is forbidden on that day. Therefore his Mum filled the album with emailed messages from all his family and friends beforehand and it was laid out on a table for all to see at the celebration.
Ro'i's main hobby is camping. I have shown him with his backpack and sleeping bag on his back. He has tefillin (phylacteries) on his left arm and on his head, and he is wearing a kippah (skullcap) too. His new LG2 phone is in his other hand. Though Ro'i usually sleeps under the stars when he goes off with his youth group, the family's tent is grey. You can see it in the background, surrounded by a few trees.
The album opens the Hebrew way, from right to left, and on the first page I added a green Egged bus (Egged is one of the largest bus companies in Israel) because apparently he loves riding the buses and knows all the schedules well! He usually takes the number 14 bus and if you look closely enough you will see that I added the correct number to this teeny tiny bus. I am not going to admit how long it took me to create it!
Ro'i also loves riding his bike. His Mum sent me a photo of it so that I could match it as accurately as possible. I added a grey helmet as well. Another page shows a little basketball and basket, and the next has his laptop with his Facebook page loaded on it, along with his new phone. Since he was a very young boy Ro'i has been interested in space, so the last page was devoted to the planets and stars. A little telescope can be seen in the foreground.
On each page I added a blue and gold striped tallit (the Jewish prayer shawl) and two were added to the cover too. Traditionally some boys begin wearing the tallit for the daily prayers from the age of Bar Mitzvah, whilst others wait till after marriage.
The tallit is a garment Jewish men wear during prayer. Tallit is an Aramaic word from the root tll / טלל meaning 'to cover over'. By wrapping yourself in the tallit, or by covering your head with it, it is believed that the intention and direction of your prayers can be enhanced.
Roi's Mum was thrilled when she received the album and has told me many times since how much she loves it. "I'm speechless!" she wrote. "It's so special and clever. I feel so lucky that I ordered this! I love every detail! I want to look at it again and again!".
One happy customer and one very happy designer.