Just as important as our aesthetic tradition are our contemporary artists who are responsible for bringing our culture into the present day. Jerusalem-based artist Yair Emanuel was trained at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. He has developed an entire line of Judaica, from shofar stands to honey dishes to menorahs to tallitot. In developing this line of artistic tallitot, Emanuel used techniques like applique, embroidery and hand painting on silk. The results are gorgeous, unique artistic creations.
Embroidered designs include an Old Jerusalem tallit available in several colors and which comes with a matching tallit bag and kippah. The tallit itself is 100% cotton while a stylized and boldly colored Jerusalem is embroidered on a separate piece of fabric in raw silk and then attached. This item comes in blue, color, silver and gold. There is also a slight variation in gold and silver that reserves the Old Jerusalem scene for the yoke, while either end of the tallit is striped in a traditional fashion.
There are is also a series of beautifully embroidered Tree of Life tallitot. The tree is embroidered on either end and Proverbs 3:18 (It is a tree of life for those who grasp it and its supporters are happy) is embroidered along the yoke in Hebrew. The Tree of Life tallit is poly silk and comes in brown, gold, pink and multi-color.
The Four Matriarchs
Yair Emanuel offers two tallitot that celebrate the four Jewish matriarchs Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah. The first is a pink raw silk tallit decorated with a combination of applique and embroidery. A pomegranate pattern adorns either end of the shawl while each of the four corners commemorates a different matriarch. It comes with a matching bag and kippah. The other design is white woven cotton adorned on either ends with an embroidered floral pattern. Once again, each of the four corners commemorates a different matriarch. This design is available in silver or gold and comes with a matching bag and kippah.
Applique is a technique that allows for bold, colorful designs and a rich, layered appearance. Yair Emanuel has put it to great use here creating a tallit that portrays Miriam the Prophetess with her drum next to the Red Sea with a group of women. Both the tallit itself and the applique are raw silk. There is also a applique pomegranate tallit available in blue and gold as well as a beautiful applique Tree of Life tallit.
Slightly More Traditional
For the slightly more traditionally minded there are several models of tallitot that more closely approximate the classic tallit with its stripes. The wool pomegranate tallit is a natural white with stripes in either slate blue, gold or green with a discreet design of pomegranates embroidered along the yoke. The cotton Star of David tallit follows the same principle - a white background with basic stripes in grey or black with a discreet design embroidered along the yoke. Finally there are several organza tallitot that follow the traditional design but simply do it in different colors as well as, of course, the radically different material.. These come in blue, purple, white with gold, and white with purple.