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Caring for your Tallit

Jenna - Women's Handmade Silk Tallit-94

Worn during morning prayers and on occasions like the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the tallit is a beautiful and important garment that should be cared for as such. Made from materials like cotton, silk and wool, many individuals worry about damaging their tallit and avoid washing it to keep it looking like new. Since this holy garment must be kept clean and in good repair at all times, follow advice from The Tallis Lady while cleaning:

Dry Cleaning

Whether you are nervous about cleaning your tallit on your own, are unsure of what type of detergent to use or just don’t have time to get this done on your own, having it dry cleaned is a great idea. Find a dry cleaner in your area that has experience cleaning prayer shawls to ensure that they will be able to properly care for yours. A good cleaner will provide your piece with the attention and care it deserves, providing you with a fresh garment and none of the worries that may accompany at-home cleaning.

Frequency

Unless something is spilled on your tallit or it gets dirty at the neck, you do not need to wash it. Look over your prayer shawl regularly, paying close attention to the tzitzit. If your shawl is looking worn or knots are unraveling, be sure to have it repaired or consider purchasing a new version. Always keep your tallit folded neatly in the bag it comes in or hang it in a suit bag to keep it from wrinkling.

The Tallis Lady offers men and women’s tallitots in a variety of fabrics and styles. Contact us online or call 201-321-4995 to find the right prayer shawl for you.

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What Does a Tallit Cost?

What Does a Tallit Cost?

I mentioned in previous blogs that tallitot come in all shapes and sizes. Well, that goes for prices as well. I have seen tallitot as low as $30 – $40 and as high as $1,200.

What makes them so expensive or inexpensive? There are several answers. Inexpensive tallitot are generally machine made and a less costly fabric is used…..the same as with any garment you may buy.

As the fabrics become more expensive and more people are involved in creating the tallit, the price will go up. Prices often depend on embroidery, fabric, piecing the tallit designs together, and where it is made. I have found that many artisan designers here in the United States sell tallitot that are much more expensive than let’s say Israel. However, there are several artists in Israel that use high quality fabrics and create gorgeous designs which is reflected in a higher price.

So it is up to you as to how much you want to spend. As long as it’s Kosher, a tallit is a tallit and serves the same purpose no matter what you spend. What I do recommend is to buy a tallit for life and that it feels comfortable on you.

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What Size Tallit Should I Buy?

I get this question all the time. And because tallitot come in all shapes and sizes, it’s a very valid question.

There are a range of standard sizes. They are 72” – 80” in length and 18” to 24” in width.  Non standard sizes increase in width because the tallit worn in a special way where the tsitsis and corners in the front are thrown over the shoulders and sometimes over the head.  These can go up to 60” in width and are usually preferred by some conservative and orthodox worshipers.

I personally do not carry short sizes (except for a few for very petite girls).

In my opinion, every Bar/Bat Mitzvah child should have a tallit at least 70” in length  (a size they can wear for life) or in a few years they will be back for another one because their shorter one will be way to short for them to use as an adult. It’s amazing how kids shoot up like corn stalks right after they become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  Years ago, there was such a thing as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah tallit which was 64” in length.  Men come to me all the time because that tallit now looks like a shrug on them.

So here are my guidelines:

If you are 4’8” to 5’10” a 72” tallit will work for you. A broader man can wear a tallit with an  80” length because the tallit is hiked up by the shoulders.

If you are over 5’10” go for an 80” tallit which will be perfect and not look too short.

As far as the width is concerned, it’s a personal choice. Most men like them wider (22-24”) and girls or women like them more narrow. Both men and women often fold the width of the tallit in half or scrunch the tallit at the neck.

The most important thing is that you are comfortable in the choice you make.

 

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Oh! The Joy of Buying a Tallit with Family and Grandparents

I love my job. Watching the tears of joy on a family members’ face as they see their child or grandchild in a tallit for the first time is the most gratifying experience.

In the past eight years when I have been selling tallitot to my customers, whether it be online or in my studio, I see the family experience as a most valuable one.
Buying a tallit for a child to wear at his Bar or Bat Mitzvah symbolizes not only that they will read from the Torah for the first time, but much more. To most families, it means the passage into adulthood when a life cycle changes and their child is growing up. In the Jewish religion, wearing a tallit for the first time seems to symbolize the beginning of a new journey – one filled with responsibility and the obligation to do mitzvot according to Jewish law.

When the entire family participates in the choosing of a tallit, grandparents can witness for a second time a new generation continuing to practice the Jewish faith. La Dor Vador – from generation to generation. The gratitude on a grandparent’s face to be alive to see this mitzvah is beyond words. We say “shep nachis,” …well this is what it is all about.

It is different than picking out a dress or suit for the occasion. It is about buying a religious garment for life and remembering when it was purchased and by whom. Many times an adult male will come to me with a tallit that was given to him at his Bar Mitzvah by his grandparents. He asks me to restore it or to somehow incorporate it in a new one because it has such sentimental value.That is why it is so important to make it a personal experience. We hope that every time the recipient wears his or her tallit, they will remember grandma and grandpa or the family member who blessed them with this wonderful and holy gift.