Have you been looking for a tallit with Scottish flair? Have you wanted a kilt but weren’t sure where to find one that comforms to the Jewish laws of shatnez? Scottish rabbi Mendel Jacobs has you covered. He’s just registered the first official Jewish tartan with the Scottish Tartans Authority.
— JTA | Jewish news (@JTAnews) March 29, 2016
The colors of the tartan draw on Scottish and Jewish culture. Blue and white are for both the Scottish and Jewish flags. The gold line is for the Tabernacle Ark. Silver represents the silver ornaments that decorate a Torah scroll. And red is for the celebratory wine of kiddush.
The tartan pattern contains seven lines, which represent, among other Jewish ideas, the physical world and the seven days of creation described in the Bible.
Mendel, who news sources say may be the only local-born rabbi in Scotland, points out that through history Scotland has served as a safe haven for Jews escaping persecution in England and Europe. He told The Scotsman, “It’s nice to produce a symbol that represents both Jewish and Scottish culture.”
The Official Scottish Jewish Tartan website recommends Jewish tartan garments not only for bar and bat mitzvahs and other simchas, but also Scotch Whisky Events and Scottish and Burns Nights. I’m not sure what Scottish and Burns Nights are, but you might want to find one to show off your Jewish tartan kippah.
From the Jewish tartan website, it looks like the fabric is available only in pre-made items at the moment. But I’ve contacted the site to ask if the tartan fabric is available to purchase. If I hear anything, I’ll update this post. Here’s hoping we’ll be able to get our hands on some official Jewish tartan fabric.
Update 5/11/18: You can now purchase Scotland’s Jewish tartan in the U.S. through Claymore Imports. It’s a bit pricey, but then again, less expensive than a shopping trip to Scotland.
Maria Bywater is the author of Sew Jewish: The 18 Projects You Need for Jewish Holidays, Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebrations, and Home, available in paperback and PDF format. She teaches hands-on Judaica sewing workshops.