Some people might think that creating Jewish jewelry is exclusionary and that such pieces are only appropriate for Jewish people to adorn themselves with. “Oh, I see: this is Jewish, right?” I sometimes get from passerbys at art fairs and festivals who then, scrunching their noses, feel uncertain about engaging in symbols not immediately familiar to them. Yes, my jewelry does take from specific Jewish imagery and beliefs, but I strive to bring out the universality of the symbols and values that I pull from. To me, if something is Jewish, it’s not just Jewish: being Jewish means to take these values and engage them within a larger context throughout time.
Values like Tikkun Olam (“healing the world”), Tzedakah (charity), Chesed (“loving kindness”) and respect toward the earth and its creatures are just some of the sentiments that Judaism offers and that I integrate into my pieces. I find these messages to be undeniably relevant in today’s modern world, where we are needlessly wreaking havoc upon the environment and toward one another.
My Jewish jewelry, then, is not just an in-joke that only the ‘cool kids’ of global Jewry get (and believe me, history has treated Jews more as the butt of all jokes than the ones in on it). I create them because I want people to have pieces that they can both aesthetically enjoy and find spiritual meaning in. Pieces like my Shalom Bayit Silver Bracelet, Large Shin Tree of Life Brooch, or my Shin/Shin Pendantsare not only interesting artistic pieces but take from Jewish ideas and engage them into a larger context. The point is to make this Jewish jewelry accessible to anybody who wants it, regardless of one’s religious standing. We’re all one in our humanity: we’re all trying to think, feel and survive together. It is my sincerest desire to make pieces that reflect this oneness.