The Fruit of Her Hands
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, I paused work on my embroidery to make face masks for charities and the wider community. It was part of a broader effort across the country, with thousands of people, mainly women, stepping out of their regular lives to sew scrubs, masks, scrub bags and caps at home.
Preparing textiles for ritual and communal use has long been a form of piety and service for Jewish women. Over the centuries women have expressed love and belonging through sewing and donating treasured fabrics for circumcision wimpels, Torah binders and Mantles, parochets (curtains for the ark) and more. I’m interested in how that tradition may have morphed into more practical forms during covid-19.
I’m looking to interview other Jewish women about what they’re doing and why. I will then use scrap fabrics left over from their work to make a Torah Mantle, as a way of honouring their contribution.