Women's Tallitot: Discovering My Own Personal Connection
How tradition, design, family and customers influenced Renee Savit'z personal journey I design Tallitot for Hiddur Mitzvah…
…simply put, this means the art of adding beauty to things Jewish. It gives me great pleasure to have been given a gift and to be able to use this gift to create Judaica.
Over the years, I've had some wonderful experiences, including my own journey. My oldest daughter, Masha, was leaving Boston for a position in California. She asked me to make a tallit for her to wear in synagogue where she would be working.. Together we worked to create a unique "one of a kind" prayer shawl for her, adding the names of her grandmothers and my name to the corner patches.
In my mind, I began to think of what I might want to put on patches of my tallit "IF" I were to ever want one.
A short time after this, while at my booth at the annual New York Gift Show, a young woman picked out a design from my collection and proceeded to try it on. She stood in the middle of the booth extremely emotional, explaining that she had been looking for "her tallit" for more than a year, and not until this moment, even having looked in Israel, had she found the perfect tallis! The look on her face caused a feeling of jealousy, and brought me to beginning the process of creating my own tallit.
The completed tallit was designed with embroidered patches on the corners, representing each of the matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.
My husband, a Conservative Rabbi, needed some convincing. "Why" has asked "do you want to wear a tallit?" My reason was simple: a man walks into a sanctuary and puts on his tallis and is immediately in a sacred space. Why can't a woman feel she can create that same sacred space when she enwraps herself as well? And so, I convinced him. My son, Jeremy was a bit more trying; however. He told me that "If I wore a tallit, he would not sit next to me in Shul." I won that debate!
Because the tallit is large, the front mimicks the back. My Hebrew name is Rachel (one patch). Behind "me" is my daughter Shoshana. My mother, Sarah is represented on another patch and then my other daughter, Gabriella is behind her. Also on the front is the matriarch Leah, and behind her my daughter, Masha Leah. The remaining matriarch is Rivka. I asked my daughter-in-law what her middle name was — Rivka! I couldn't have planned it better. When I wrap myself in this tallit I have my ancestral matriarchs, my mother, myself and my daughters and daughter-in-law with me.