See this print of the Daughters of Zelophehad? I came across it at an art auction in 1932. A copy is in the 1897 book called Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us. I’ve kept the print to remind me that illustrations of Bible stories are fancifuland that what happened to Miriam Josefsohn Jacobowitz was extraordinary, but true.
I wish I could tell you that I believed the fantastical story that Mim told me back in the fall of 1916, when her mother sent the old teddy bear that had belonged to Danny and Mim. His name was Baloo, from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book stories. Do you know those books?
While Paul was napping the day that Mim got the bear, she finally told me her storyat least part of it. “My mother hid my prayer shawl,” she said. “The one with the embroidery and a blue thread, remember I showed it to you a while back?”
I nodded because I didn’t want her to stop. […]
Followers of Blue Thread probably know that the title of the book refers to a blue-colored fringe in a prayer shawl. In the Bibles Book of Numbers 15:38, the ancient Israelites are commanded to add fringes (in Hebrew: tzitzit) to the corners of their garments. The Biblical edict goes on to require that the tzitzit have a thread of blue (ptil tchelet). There’s more about that in a blog post from last November.
What is the precise color of tchelet? The color is supposed to echo that of the sea and the sky. Opinions vary about just which dye was to be used to make the blue color. The blue that Ooligan Press and I decided would work for the cover of Blue Thread is “Pantone 293 uncoated.” I found yet another take on tchelet yesterday at a shoe store. Take a look at these shoes from Israel. The Hebrew script reads tchelet. […]
Blue Thread and Downton Abbey? As I was watching a recent episode of this popular TV series, I was struck by how much the two stories have in common.
Time period for one. Both works are set in 1912. Blue Thread mentions the sinking of the Titanic only briefly, with Lillian worrying about taking a vacation in Europe. In Downton Abbey, the ocean liner’s demise is linked to the fate of the manor house and its owners, the Earl and Countess of Grantham.
Then there’s the loss of a male heir. In Blue Thread, Miriam’s brother, Danny, has died, and her father refuses to leave the family print shop to her. Ownership of the shop will go to Miriam’s two younger male cousins. The family in Downton Abbey faces a larger problem. The estate and title of the fictitious Earldom of Grantham is entailed, meaning that it passes to the closest male heir. […]