Make Your Own Family Tallit

An activity from URJ Greene Family Camp

During the Friday Shabbat Blessings at URJ Greene Family Camp, our counselors spread bunk tallitottallitטַלִּיתPrayer shawl; plural: tallitot  over their campers and bless them with the Priestly Benediction.

Over the summer, bunks create bunk tallitot at the beginning of the session. By creating their personalized bunk tallitot, our bunks are also creating a sacred space that covers and protects their bunk community. Our bunk tallitot are sacred because our bunks make them sacred. At the end of the summer, each camper takes a piece of the tallit with them to hold onto that sacred community and keep it with them throughout the year.

As a family, you can create a sacred family tallit to bless your campers during our Friday Shabbat experiences.

  • Rectangle Fabric (size of your tallit)
  • Fabric markers or fabric paint
  • Yarn
  • Scissors

PLAN YOUR DESIGN

As you design your family tallit, think about:

  • What makes the Shabbat experience special for your family?
  • Are there symbols that represent your family? Are there any Shabbat symbols that your family likes?
  • What does your family want to get out of Shabbat?

DECORATE YOUR FABRIC

Using your fabric and art supplies, decorate your family tallit. Cut a hole on each corner of your fabric that your tzitzitTzitzitצִיצִיתFringes, tied in a specific way on the four corners of a tallit or prayer shawl. The purpose of tzitizit is to remind Jews of the mitzvot (commandments).   can be attached to!

SAY THE BLESSINGS

Before you begin tying your Tzitzit, recite this blessing:

בָּרוּך אַתָּה ה’ אֱ-להֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אַשֶׁר קִדְשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ עַל מִצְוַת צִיצִת

Baruch ata Ado-nai Elo-hai-nu Melech ha’olam asher kid-sha-nu b’mitz-vo-tav v’tzi-vanu al mitzvat tzitzit.

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with the commandments, and commanded us concerning the mitzvah of tzitzit.

TIE TZITZIT

Tzitzit are knotted fringes on the corners of the tallit that makes the tallit holy! These fringes are a constant reminder to Jews to follow the commandments in the Torah. Tzitzit are attached to each corner of your tallit. Each tallit will have 613 knots to symbolize the 613 mitzvotmitzvahמִצְוָהLiterally, “commandment." A sacred obligation. Jewish tradition says the Torah contains 613 mitzvot Mitzvot refer to both religious and ethical obligations. .

Here's how to tie tzitzit, from our friends at Advah Designs:

  1. Each tzitzit has four strings–three of the same length and a fourth longer one called a shamash. The shamash is used to wrap around all the other strings.

  2. Place four strings (three short and one long) through the hole. Even the ends so that you have seven that are the same length, and one longer.

  3. Tie a double knot using four strings on each side.

  4. Take the shamash and wrap it seven times around the other seven strings.

  5. Tie a double knot.

  6. Take the shamash and wrap it eight times.

  7. Tie a double knot.

  8. Take the shamash and wrap it 11 times.

  9. Tie a double knot.

  10. Finally, take the shamash and wrap it 13 times.

  11. Tie a final double knot.