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Welcome to Atoof

challah cover, zebulun, atoof

From our earliest recollections, we have grown up around Jewish ritual objects, otherwise known as Judaica.  An early memory of our mothers’ lighting silver shabbat candlesticks or the blue wax of the Havdalah candle dripping onto the table during that transition from Shabbat to the everyday, or the heavy brass Chanukiah we lit by the window, or the little scrolls of Shema, the foundational Jewish prayer, that sits fastened to our doorposts – as observant Jews, these objects were a part of our lives even before we understood their full significance.  

As we have gotten older, our relationship to these ritual objects has evolved.  Now we light our own Shabbat candlesticks every week at sundown on Friday night.  We hang our own mezuzot on our doorposts, and we light our own Chanukah Menorahs.  As we have aged, and then have had kids of our own, the prominence of these objects has grown, as we have decoded their significance - not only physical objects to perform ritual, or mitzvot but to enrich our lives with age-old traditions.  Mitzvot, translated as commandments or more generally accepted as good deeds, can range from the socially conscious/ethical acts of feeding the poor, or taking care of the orphan or widow, to the more inexplicable or undecodable laws such as not eating pig, or not wearing shatnez, which is a blend of linen and wool.  Like many of the mitzvot themselves, the ritual objects are portals to connect us with the higher world, and to our highest selves.   

There is a concept in Judaism called Hiddur Mitzva, or beautifying of the mitzva – namely, when performing a mitzva, we dont just want to do it in the least intentional, most cursory way, but we want to elevate it through the beautification of it – whether that be in the work involved for us, the aesthetic beauty, going out of our way to infuse the mitzvah with purpose and intention.  As individuals, a society, and a religion that values aesthetics in our daily lives, we have grown accustomed to being able to surround ourselves with the most beautiful of materials and ingredients.  And yet, in the area in which we derive so much of our spirituality, our value system, the structure of time, and major milestones, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to find the same level of luxury and aesthetic beauty – namely in our Judaica.   It is worth noting that unlike many religions that preach or praise asceticism, Judaism values the physicality of the world, the pleasures of the world, but seeks to take those pleasures and use them for the highest good. 

The name Atoof, which means to envelope, or enwrap, reflects the truth that ritual Judaica, is at its best a container for something more pure, just as our corporeal bodies are but a container for the neshama, or the living soul.  It is our hope that in creating these beautiful heirloom pieces of Judaica, we will be able to share with you a tool to elevate the place of ritual in your lives – a pathway to feeling that ritual as a means to connect more deeply with your soul, with your creator, and with those you love the most. 

We are so glad you are on this journey with us. 


- Daniella & Maya

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