I see a prayer shawl as an invitation to step out of the chatter of daily life and into a meditative space.Designing each silk tallit for a specific client, I draw, paint, sew, and tie tzitzit to form a portable house of prayer.
When my Russian-born grandfather was 18 years old, his two brothers, studying to be Torah scribes, were murdered by Cossacks. My grandfather came to America in 1905 and fathered three sons. My decision to become a designer and painter of prayer shawls, wedding canopies, Torah covers, and healing scarves is, in part, a way to say Kaddish for these family members, along with my mother and my father, each time I hand letter a prayer in Hebrew.
Designs and prayers are drawn with gold-flaked resist onto 14" x 72" luscious white sand-washed crepe de chine silk. Elegant silk charmeuse, which has a pearlescent glow, is used for the atarah and corners. Each separate piece is painted with fiber-reactive dyes, then steamed for hours to set the dyes. After washing, cutting, and sewing the elements into place, wool tztzit strings from Israel are tied in a traditional gematria of knots and wraps that numerically translate as "God is One."
PRICING STARTS AT $800
It is advisable to order far in advance of a designated celebration, if possible.
Traditionally, the atarah prayer is "Blessed are you, Adonai, sovereign of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to wrap ourselves in the tzitzit."
Part of the process, if you choose to do so, is working together to find the words that call to you to open your inner spirit.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
The same prayer is included on a rabbi's tallit
The Pomegranate Tallit : 613 seeds/ 613 Mitzvot
I contend that many of us, whether we are born Jewish or choose to be, are Jews by choice, meaning that we choose how we integrate ritual into our lives. The phrase “time-bound” appears as a reason or non-reason for a woman to wear tallit, as if all humans are not bound by time. We choose to set aside time to pray, to reflect, to commune with a higher power, why not choose to wear an especially meaningful prayer shawl in which we can wrap ourselves in the past, wrestle with the present, and look to the future.
All content copyright Beth Surdut 2017. All rights reserved. DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION.
For a Bat Mitzvah girl or a groom, the question can be the same...
We praise You, Adonai, Sovereign of the universe,
that such as these are in Your world.
For a devoted cantor
Sing a new song, all the earth!
Sing a new song to Adonai;
"If not now, when?" Hillel's question for all seasons
Sometimes bravery is choosing to stay alive
In this tallit, Torah is a rainbow of learning
in wisdom has G-d made all creatures
To find peace and beauty when you are challenged
to stand up for equality for women and girls
bountiful opportunities to sing a new song
the glorious desert and tenderness of seeking G-d
My favorite question from the book of Job
rejoicing in creation
others are seeking G-d
some seek protection found in the psalms
Please click on each image.
Custom tallit created on silk. Uniquely designed and hand painted for each individual.
Often, tallit making is a collaboration.
Clients range from almost 13 to almost 80
with vastly varied interests and experiences.
Occasionally, a tallit is a surprise gift.