Bright and Colorful Design Commemorate Life in Tekoa: The Story of Naama Isaac
by Aryeh Tavor | 2018-03-15 08:58:09
Naama Isaac, with her husband and their three children, live in the community of Tekoa, Judea. Naama has produced some wonderful products that have gone out in Lev Haolam's Surprise Monthly Packages. Naama was born in Ofra where she lived for twelve years, when her family decided to move to Kochav HaShachar. Her parents were one of the first families to reside in the community after it had been established. "When Kochav HaShachar was created, they were looking for [new] families to move there to help strengthen the [young] community. So, we moved there for one year to help strengthen the community."
Naama has an eye for graphic design. The name of the business she started is Studio Nekudotayim, which offers design, design strategy, marketing, and branding. "And among the various services I offer, there is a niche that interests me in particular – a unique niche within the design market and that is [the niche of] Judaica. Watercolor [creations], paintings, Jewish art, Ketubot (religious and ceremonious wedding documents) and similar items. I work less with commercial items and more on items for individual orders, like for instance a couple that is getting married, [I could make them] a Ketuba [a traditional marriage document that is frequently crafted with art to surround the legal part of the document] with a drawing of Jerusalem, specially personalized for him."
It was because of her Judaica that Naama first became a producer for Lev Haolam. "And that is how I reached Lev Haolam. At the moment, I am working on a [designer] Megillat Esther (the story of Queen Esther and her hand in saving the Jewish people) for the upcoming package," Naama said.
Naama then showed us the artwork that she had designed for Lev Haolam by hand – the design that would serve as the beautiful design frames and margins for the pages in the Megillat Esther. She explained to us that she was handling all the aspects of the creation of the books. "I am working on parallel designs (mediums) and will be blending the two together. [I'm using] watercolors, hand-drawn art, materials, pencils. This is one side of it. Afterward, I scan the art to the computer, then add the text. In the case of [this] Megillat Esther, it will be in two languages. This is overall what I do. I work from the house. For my business, I also employ two workers who live here in Tekoa."
The work that Naama produces is bright, colorful and lively and we wanted to know how she came to choose Judaica as a specialty. Naama told us that she started creating Judaica professionally, in part, due to the murder of her cousin. Six years ago, her cousin, Achikam, was killed in a terrorist attack in Nachal Telem. He was hiking with his friend, David, and they were killed in a shooting attack. A few months after the attack, her aunt asked Naama for ideas as to what could serve as a memorial for Achikam. Naama recounted, "In particular, [my aunt] wanted it to be something that would be happy and lively. Instead of bringing up memories of the murder – the pain and the anger associated with it – the work to be done in his memory would be something with a focus on liveliness. At the same time, I began painting a friend's chupah (wedding canopy)." The groom happened to be friend's of Achikam and David. The groom and his bride got married underneath this chupah and it was extremely moving for the family and friends.
It was in Naama's cousin's memory that her first piece of Judaica, the canopy, was created and it served as an inspiration for more. "This was the first personalized piece of Judaica that I created. And for me, the experience was very strong, first of all, because I was very close to Achikam. Also because of the family that was celebrating the wedding… it was his [Achikam's] friends celebrating the wedding and they were the same age," Naama continued. "On the one hand, a chupah brings together something which previously was not – the bride and the groom – and brings them together and on the other side, the chupah wraps the couple in a surrounding centered on the happiness of the building of something new and the new beginning that couple experience together."
From there, Naama continued to fill orders for Judaica items such as synagogue mantles place cards, paintings for the house and other products that told a story related to Israel. She recalled with a smile how her niece, who was soon to be traveling to the United States, asked her to create something with the theme of the Seven-Species (foods that are indigenous to Israel) since she wanted to have something to always remind her of Israel. Naama created the momento for her niece.
We asked Naama how she decided to live in Tekoa and raise her family there. "For four years after we got married, we lived in the Jerusalem Hills," Naama said. "You can't compete against the green of the Jerusalem Hills and throughout all of Jerusalem, but with children, we looked for a community, for a place that allows freedom and space. Also from a communal point of view, Tekoa is very unique.