Dix Hill Jewish Center
This has been a unique and spectacular experience—designing, painting, and overseeing the creation of 19 Torah covers and two future Amud (lectern) covers for Dix Hills Jewish Center. It was great working so closely with the committee members Lisa Mintz and Lisa Saffeir, and very inspiring learning the Midrashim (rabbinic interpretations of the Biblical text) relating to each of the Torah cover topics with Rabbi Howard Buechler!
Taking notes while discussing each topic was an amazing experience. The care and input of all was crucial, and very helpful to the process. Rabbi made the Midrash magical and easy to transform into images. I spent many hours making rough sketches and color schemes for each topic, addressing them one by one as we discussed the many meanings and Midrash.
The next step was getting Rabbi’s and the committee’s approval on the rough drafts, as I then moved on to transferring the sketches to make the final paintings. Each painting was carefully decided with regard to the color schemes, and all important meanings and symbols were incorporated into the composition for each topic. After completion, these paintings were later digitally scanned in high resolution, and sent to the Torah cover printer and manufacturer. Next steps involved getting samples on the velvet fabric for approval of colors and clarity, then overseeing the manufacturing of the final Torah covers.
As an artist that has had the opportunity to be able to transfer my art into numerous mediums and materials, this has been a special opportunity and experience. I have enjoyed the process and learned so much, with new stories, interpretations and new and amazing final results.
It has been an honor and a blessing to be able to dress and design these beautiful Torah scrolls.
Thank you to all at The Dix Hills Jewish Center that made this amazing project possible!
Siona Benjamin is an incredibly gifted and talented artist, trailblazing with colors, designs and imagery today, just as Bezalel accomplished for our ancestors three millennia ago. It is an honor for our community to dedicate these stunningly beautiful and artistically creative Torah covers and welcome them into our sanctuary! Each time we open the ark doors, the designs, colors and images will inspire and elevate us into even more sacred and holy moments and add rich dimensions of soulful blessings…
Rabbi Howard Buechler