Noah Greenberg Shtenders

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Tree of Life Shtenders
Tree of Life Shtenders
גלריה נח גרינגרג
No-oa-ch Green-berg
Other Names:
Bezalel Editions, Tree of Life Shtender
Tzfat carpenter who designs, builds and carves unique Judaica from wood.

Noah Greenberg has been creating unique Judaica from wood since 1985 in Tzfat. He is best known for his “Tree of Life Shtender,” a piece which allows individuals to explore Jewish traditions through a carefully crafted piece of furniture which holds meaningful ritual objects.


[edit] Background

Noah Greenberg was born and raised in Berkeley California. He studied horticulture at the University of California Berkeley and worked as a carpenter and builder before moving to Israel in 1979. He continued to work as a carpenter during his early years in Tzfat but after meeting David Moss, a Jerusalem-based artist, he started to explore the artistic possibilities that woodwork could offer.

[edit] Judaica

Noah operated a carpentry shop in the Tzfat Artist Quarter where he built furniture, including furnishings for local synagogues. His interest in wood-crafted Judaica led him to David Moss and together they began to collaborate on an idea for a “shtender” -- a lecturn-type stand that Jewish men often use to rest their books while studying or praying. David and Noah developed the concept of uniting many different pieces of Judaica into one central furnishing which, together, would fuse the representations of prayer, study (as represented by the shtender) and observance (as represented by the ritual objects contained within.) This model became the Tree of Life Shtender.

[edit] Construction

Noah and David worked together on the conceptualization of the Tree of Life Shtender and its various sections. Noah built the prototypes of the shtender and hand-carved the objects contained within which include candlesticks for the Sabbath, a tefillin box for phylacteries, a tzdekka box for charity, a challah board for the Sabbath bread, a Kiddush set for the ritual blessings over the wine, a Seder plate for the Passover Seder and an etrog box for the Sukkot holiday.

[edit] Hand-Carving

Each piece of the shtender set is hand-carved with designs which represent the Seven Species and the plants and trees of the Land of Israel. Noah’s background in horticulture has given him the knowledge to carve authentic designs into the wooden pieces. Each object has multiple layers of conceptual, symbolic, “Midrashic” -- legend -- , practical and aesthetic meanings which are expressed in the motifs and patterns that are carved into the piece.

[edit] Production

The Tree of Life Shtender is produced on a limited basis. Assembly and production of the shtender’s pieces is undertaken outside of Israel by artisans and craftsmen who each specialize in a different part of the production. Noah travels to these workshops to ensure authenticity and quality work.

[edit] Exhibitions

The shtenders are acquired by private collectors as well as educational institutions and museums. Many institutions use the shtenders for education purposes. Thousands of people throughout the world have seen Noah’s presentations in which he carefully explains the concepts behind each piece as well as the meanings and uses of each object. In addition, he has developed a new project, Kesher Tefillin, in which he teaches youngsters and adults alike about the “mitzva” -- commandment of putting on tefillin by engaging them in workshops where they actually produce the tefillin boxes themselves. Noah continues to produce wooden Judaica and synagogue furnishings in his workshop in Tzfat’s Artist Quarter.


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