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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

February 12, 2016  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Twelve Tribes quilts a 2-year ‘labor of love’

By BOB FRYER Jewish Press


(L-R) Randi Kraus and Nan Shane created the 12 quilts that now grace the sanctuary at Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater. (L-R) Randi Kraus and Nan Shane created the 12 quilts that now grace the sanctuary at Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater. One Shabbat about two years ago, Randi Kraus was sitting on the bima at Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater, looking out, and noticed a blank, drab wall at the back of the sanctuary – and found inspiration.

Kraus, a member of the synagogue beautification committee, soon chatted with fellow congregant Nan Shane and discussed creating something to enhance the wall. Shane counted the panels along the back wall, 12 in number, and was reminded of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

That is how the women, both accomplished needle crafters, began what Shane and Kraus termed “a two-year labor of love” to create 12 handmade, colorful quilts, each representing one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

As part of the synagogue’s annual Purim Gala on Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m., Shane and Kraus will be recognized for completion of the Twelve Tribes project that has transformed the blank wall into a display of beauty and faith. Also receiving thanks will be 12 Beth Shalom member families who sponsored the quilts – the Beckerman, Berner, Bomstein, Hubsher, Igel, Lenett, Sadowsky, Shane, Sobel, Solc and Tankel families.


The formerly blank wall at the back of the sanctuary at Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater has been transformed with brightly colored quilts representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel, created by congregants Nan Shane and Randi Kraus. The formerly blank wall at the back of the sanctuary at Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater has been transformed with brightly colored quilts representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel, created by congregants Nan Shane and Randi Kraus. For the gala, the quilts will go on display in the synagogue’s social hall for attendees to admire as they enjoy the party. The gala will include dining, dancing, live music and a silent auction.

The families’ sponsorship sentiments are embroidered on the quilts, expressing their love of family, remembering lost loved ones, and appreciating the blessings in their lives.

For example, Alan and Nancy Bomstein chose the “Asher” banner because it is the Hebrew middle name of their grandson, Will. “We feel it is incumbent upon us to support Conservative Judaism in our community. We sponsored our banner in honor of our grandchildren, and nothing is sweeter,” the couple said.

Kraus works as a CPA and that limited the time she and Shane would work together on the quilts.

“We did a lot of work on Sundays and things are not as busy in summer and fall, so we did some work on weekdays, too,” Kraus said. Both women worked on all the quilts, but also did some work on them separately. “Nan would do bindings and I would do embroidery separately when we were doing finishing work,” Kraus said.

“Nan and I enjoy sewing together. She got me into quilting, so when the idea of quilts came up, we knew we could do this. We work well together and feed off each other’s creativity,” Kraus said.

This is not the first time Shane and Kraus have created art for the synagogue. It took three and a half years for the duo and eight other women from the congregation to create a wall tapestry, “The Goodness of the Promised Land,” that has hung in the sanctuary since late 2009.

Kraus also recalled an even earlier project, when the Sisterhood made Torah binders for a Women’s League of Conservative Judaism national convention. The tapestry idea sprang from the Torah binder project, she said.

Twelve Tribes project

Biblical tradition holds that the Twelve Tribes of Israel are descended from patriarch Jacob and are called “Israel” from Jacob’s name given to him by G-d. The Twelve Tribes are Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim and Manesseh.

Shane and Kraus researched information about the tribes and then designed each quilt with the symbols representing a particular tribe. For instance, Shane said, the name Judah means lion, so they made a lion the centerpiece of that quilt.

About six months ago, she said, the first six quilts that were completed were hung at a Shabbat service. Then, during the High Holidays, four more were put on display. A few weeks ago the final two were put on display.

Shane has been a member at Beth Shalom since 1999 when she retired from her real estate career in Indiana and moved to Pinellas County. Shane began her love of sewing as a small child, sewing clothes for her boys as they grew up.

Kraus has also been a synagogue member since the early 1980s. She began her love of sewing at age 8 and continues to enjoy all types of sewing.

“We really did not have any problems. … It was a labor of love,” Shane said of the quilt project.

“As we were making the quilts, we surprised ourselves, and would say to one another, ‘Oh, look at how good it looks,’” Kraus said

Purim party

The 4th annual Purim Gala is a fundraiser for the congregation. A Bedouin-themed dining experience will be provided by Edibles by Ethel. The menu includes meze platters and shish kabobs. A special cocktail is created for the gala: pomegranate martini.

Those attending will dance to the music of La Lucha, a Tampa Bay based trio that consists of three best friends from Colombia, Mexico and the United States including drummer Mark Feinman, who grew up at Beth Shalom. The band was awarded Creative Loafing’s “Best of the Bay Jazz Ensemble” in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Purim costume or cocktail attire is requested and there will be prizes for the costume winners.

A silent auction will take place including a one-week vacation in North Carolina, Tampa Bay Lightning tickets, sports items including an FSU football, gift cards to local restaurants, spa gift card, clothing shop and movie tickets.

Emcees for the gala are Kathy Sobel and Martha Margolis. The gala will be in the social hall at Congregation Beth Shalom, 1325 S. Belcher Road in Clearwater. The cost is $136 per person.

For more information or to request an event invitation, email CBSPurimGala@aol.com or call (727) 781-9642.


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