Jewish Journal


February 8, 2013

Judaica retro on-line


Ofir Shakir recognized a need for accessible ritual articles in his neighborhood of 'Gan Yavne'. After a researching some sites on the web he found 'Art Judaica', an international company working with several artists of ritual articles, and launched his on-line Judaica store called: 'All for the Jewish house'.
The list of item include everything from a mezuzah to tallit in the various forms they come in according to the different traditions of the Jewish ethnic groups: Ashkenazy and Sephardi, CHABAD and Yemenite.


How do you chose an article, and are there 'Kosher' obligatory criteria?

I try to keep a variable collection both by price and origin.
Some items do need to have a 'Kosher Stamp' such as the mezuzah and the tallit, but mostly I take special attention to the quality of the materials.

What kind of differences could you find between Ashkenazi and Sephardi buyers?

Ashkenazi mezuzah, for example is written in a special Ashkenazi script.
Ashkenazi houses keep 1 menorah to each boy, not like the Sephardic, for whom 1 menorah for the entire family is enough.

Would you classify your clients as solely religious, or not necessarily?

As a matter of fact, I rather serve the more secular and traditional population. The orthodox community has their own sources, and I wish to bring the others closer to better Judaica, since I know the lack of those in their surroundings, even though the interest in keeping a Jewish tradition in the house is growing among Israelis

Ofir believes elegant ritual articles, holy vessels is a Mitzvah for itself; As it's mentioned in 'Parashat Beshalech" by Moses to the people in Israel after crossing the Niles: "Zeh Eli, Ve-Anavehu" i.e. You should work g-d humbly and with grace.

We know today, the command to light candles in Hanukah applies to one candle only. But the lightning one more candle each day for 8 days gradually and respectfully is actually implementing this comment in a further graceful and elegant way.

"There's much to it for the meaning of material in holiness", say Shakir, "in this is why having fancy articles for holydays is dear to me. It brings a great meaning to the practicing when you respect it with proper Judaica Art. Just as much as King David had brought us the tradition of the 4th meal in Shabat- when food seizes to be nutrition of the body, and becomes a fiest and celebration to the soul. When we up-grade the material into the function of mitzvah making with take out its own secularity, and praise G-d with the beauty of art through this object.

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