Portfolio > Judaica

Anika Smulovitz, Torah pointer matriarchs honoring sterling silver antique mother of pearl buttons embroidery needles
In Honor of the Matriarchs (Torah pointer)
sterling silver, antique mother-of-pearl buttons, embroidery needles; 10" x 1 1/4" x 1 1/4"
photographed by Doug Yaple

Jewish ritual objects hold the essence of Jewish life and culture. Creating contemporary Judaica allows me to examine contemporary issues through the Jewish tradition. It is not a religious interest that draws me towards making Judaica, but a cultural interest and an interest as a silversmith in creating work that has a ritual function. Through making Judaica I bring together my interest in academic research of religion and my interest in creating functional ritual objects. I am drawn to functional objects because of their interactive qualities. The people who use these objects, understand them both visually and tactilely, and relate to them on a personal level. I enjoy searching for the psychological "why" of religious practices. Some of the ritual objects I create are based on this research, while other pieces draw from the wealth of visual cultural history present in the tradition of Judaica.

This work was commissioned for the Barr Foundation Judaica Collection and was made possible in part by a Fellowship from the Boise State University Arts and Humanities Institute.