My connection with the Holy Land has many expressions. It started
with family holidays, became real through my decision to make Israel my home, and recently became the
inspiration for the original jewelry piece featured here.
I grew up in an
international, inter-faith family. I remember how every year we marked Passover
at our house, and then went to my aunt at Easter time for Easter cakes. Respect
for other religions is in my blood. So when I started my career as a jeweler,
it was a lovely challenge to design pieces that have religious meaning for Jews
and Christians. Since both faiths are rooted in the Land of the Bible, there is
a lot of “common ground” – literally and symbolically.
Some years ago, when I decided
to build an original Judaica collection, I was already experienced in jewelry
art, and could make lots of things in precious metal (silver, brass, gold). But
the metal needed something to make the pieces unique.
For a while I explored
the idea of combining leather and silver – the results can be very interesting.
During one summer when I was in Lithuania, I pushed
allmy friends to find me a teacher in
leather working. I took a lesson, and bought a book. But leather isn’t a very
durable material for jewelry – especially for a piece with spiritual
significance, which people might want to wear every day.
Stones, gems and beads
are beautiful, but they are too common. In spite of their great variety in
sizes, shapes and colors, I felt driven to produce something found nowhere else
in the market. There is only one way to make sure of that: make all the
elements myself, starting “from scratch” as they say (from zero).
Through an accidental encounter
with an expert in glass-making, Olga, I found a brilliant solution. I fell in love
with dichroic glass as soon as I saw it, and looked no farther for my original source.
My first glass Stars of David were made by Olga; then I bought the furnace for fusing
and began to make my own glass.
Thus glass and silver
became the building blocks of my collection. I added other symbols to the necklaces
besides the Magen David: the Pomegranate, Hamsa and Chai. Eventually I produced Christian symbols too: the Fish, and of course the Cross.
My collection has been
popular enough with my customers for several years now. As all progress
moves in a spiral, I knew that at some point in time I would return to this
collection, to add something new.
But what could I do that
wasn’t already done, and in some cases overdone? All the symbols I had made so far
were widespread in jewelry art. The market is overflowing with hamsas, six-pointed
I suddenly saw it: the
Land itself! The map of Israel is familiar and recognizable to
those who love this country –our country. Its outline, its regions
and even its colors are unique.
For me and my generation who
arrived here 20 years ago, the sense of identification with Israel is strong and deep. Our children live
like “sabras” (native-born Israelis), and the first language of our
grandchildren is Hebrew. This country is not only all around us, but also
That was the inspiration
for the silver pendant in the form of a heart. Embedded within it is the
outline of Israel as a dichroik glass cabochon – a sparkling
mix of colors that represent the changing landscape of the country… from the sun-baked
desert in the south to the green Galilee and Golan Heights in the north.
The gold Star hovers
above it all, to complete the picture. This is a symbol of “the Keeper of
Israel, who neither slumbers nor sleeps” (Psalm 121). And after all, that’s why
Israel is called the Holy Land.