Collection by Aaron Britt

Stanley Saitowitz's Judaica


The South African-born, San Francisco-based architect Stanley Saitowitz is no stranger to the intersection of Judaism and design. His firm, Natoma Architects Inc., is responsible for synagogues in San Francisco and La Jolla, California, as well as the New England Holocaust Memorial on Boston's Freedom Trail. His latest work in this rich vein is a collection of ritual objects now on view at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. "Stanley Saitowitz: Judaica" runs through October 2012 and shows the architect stripping away centuries of accreted ornamentation, filigree, and schmaltz from 13 objects of Jewish worship. "These objects are the instruments of ritual and I designed them to be stripped of sentiment, which I don't believe provides much comfort anyway." Check out the collection and do make it to the show if you pass through San Francisco.

The yad is a pointer used in reading from the Torah.
The tzedakah box is for alms, the required caring for of the less fortunate.
Here's Saitowitz's seder plate. "We have some really ugly Judaica," he told me when we spoke about the show.
This pair of shabbat candles is a prime example of the spare, industrial aesthetic of the collection.
The Netilat Yadayim cup is used for ritual handwashing.
The rimonim are endcaps for the Torah, and are outfitted with bells that jingle as the Torah is carried around.
The mezuzah holds a tiny Torah scroll and is affixed to the door frame of a Jewish home.
Stanley Saitowitz, Etrog Box, 2011, nickel and resin, 3.5 x 5.5 inches. Artist rendering.
Stanley Saitowitz, Kiddush Cup, 2011, nickel, brass and resin, 3 x 3 x 7 inches. Artist rendering.
Stanley Saitowitz, Havdalah Set, 2011, nickel, brass and resin, 13 x 3 x 8 inches. Artist rendering.
Stanley Saitowitz, Menorah, 1995, stainless steel, 16.5 x 4.5 x 8.75 inches. Fabrication by Natoma Architects.
Stanley Saitowitz, Matzah Plate, 2011, nickel and resin, 7.5 x 7.5 x 1 inches. Artist rendering.
Stanley Saitowitz, Challah Cover, 2011, wool yarn, 18 x 12 inches. Artist rendering.