Sixth grade families at Temple Israel Center had the opportunity to encounter the Torah portion for their Bnai Mitzvah in a creative way. They could create spoken word poetry with Andrew Lustig, learn with the Senior Rabbi Gordon Tucker, or create fiber art with me.
Those who chose to make fiber art created a 29″ square piece that can be used to cover the Torah during the service on the day of their bar or bat mitzvah. We started with each family reading their Torah portion and choosing something from the text as inspiration for their art.
A couple families spoke about the sacrifices in their Torah portions and they decided to make literal pieces depicting animal sacrifices. The piece on the right below also depicts a woman singing under the tiniest sliver of the moon because she will become bat mitzvah on Rosh Hodesh.
One family found inspiration from the haftorah that she would chant: I Samuel 20:18-42. In this section, Jonathan protects David by coming up with a secret code using his bow and arrow. The family was struck by the fact that shooting arrows, usually an aggressive act was used here out of love. To show this, they created arrows with hearts at the back to use in their piece. (I didn’t get a good picture of the arrows, but you can get an idea from the center photo below.)
Another family talked about the Jubilee year and created a celebratory piece about the seventh year when the fields lay fallow and the workers rest.
A father and son team talked about how God’s deeds outweigh those of people.
In the piece on the left below, the letter “hey” in the center represents God and the colored fabrics radiating from the center represent God’s commandments. The piece in the center below represents Joseph’s coat of many colors. The colorful strips are separated by a vertical red strip in the center representing the tearing of Joseph’s coat by his brothers and the separation of the family that followed that act. And the piece on the right below depicts the reunion of Jacob and Esau beneath the rays of God’s light.
Each of these thoughtful pieces can be used to cover the Torah when it is out on the reading table between aliyot and/or when the rabbi is speaking. I hope these students and their parents use them with pride!