From Velvet to Vuitton: Prayer Shawl Bags Revisited

Think of designer accessories and it’s likely to be shoes, scarves and handbags that come to mind. But one Israeli designer believes that Jewish religious accessories also deserve to be crafted with flair, fine fabrics and personal style.

Amanda Kramer, a traditional Jewish mother of six with untraditional ideas in design, has produced tallits (prayer shawls) from Louis Vuitton jeans, fringes from Fendi and siddurs (prayer books) covered in Gucci fabric. Her line, Amanda K., is a panoply of Jewish religious accessories, with an unusual emphasis on items for men.

“Why is it that a woman can change her handbags to express her individuality, but a man, who is expected to dress nicely for synagogue, will have the same tefillin (phylactery) bag everyone else has?” asks Kramer, 36, who lives in Givat Shmuel, a town near Tel Aviv.

“The religious world is traditional and staid, but the time has come to make it fashion-conscious.”


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