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Design your own tallit for you bat mitzvah

Jew-cy contour: Design your own tallit

for The Brooklyn Paper

The b’nai mitzvah is a personal milestone. It is one of the most life-altering events in a young Jewish person’s life. In addition to chanting a Torah portion, reading a haftarah, and leading the service, you can also add a personal touch and make the special day even more momentous by designing your own tallit! It could really personalize your b’nai mitzvah.

First thing you need in order to design a suitable tallit is the tzitzit, or fringe, which is distinctively tied in honor of the various Judaic concepts.

To begin, purchase the following:

• Material such as silk, cotton blend, or wool.

• Fabric paints (Jo-Ann Fabrics or Michael’s have marvelous selections)

• Needle and thread

Directions:

1. Choose a comfortable fabric that appeals to you. Nowadays, people wear tallits that reach from the top of the head to the hips, as opposed to the traditional tallit that are considerably longer. The prayer tallit will range in size according to your height. Traditional tallits were made of 100% wool, but today it is common to use a cotton blend that is easier to care for, or even the shimmering silk dupioni.

2. It is important that the hem of the tallit is barely noticeable. Also, be sure to line your tallit with cotton fabric to prevent staining from natural body oils.

3. Now, for the fun part – decorating your tallit! Let your imagination and creativity take flight. Painting or sewing the design in your favorite colors will add a great personal touch.

4. The final step is to add the tzitzit, or fringe. This is by far the most significant detail of your tallit. The Torah teaches that G-d instructed the Israelites to sew tzitzit onto the four corners of their garments to encourage mindfulness of G-d’s mitzvot. Insert four very fine strands of thread through a hole about 1.5” — an inch away from the four corners of the tallit. This functions to double the thread, and creates eight strands. Then, knot them five times, which will leave roughly seven inches of tzitzit. It is advisable to practice tying regular thread round a key ring to get the knack and avoid making pricey mistakes.

Et la voile! You have just created your very own bar or bat mitzvah tallit!

Samantha Hunt works at eInvite, an online retailer of bar and bat mitzvah invitations, stationery, wedding invitations, save-the-dates, birthday party invitations, and other custom paper goods.

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