•     Photo by Barry A. Kaplan

Go into any gift shop in Jerusalem, and the pomegranate design is there on hamsas, jewelry boxes, salt and pepper shakers, matchbox covers, key chains, evening bags, wall hangings, varied embroidered items, and a myriad of religious items. They are the distinguishable mark of the Israeli artist, Yair Emanuel.

The rather shy, ordinary Israeli man in his 40s describes his style as “a combination of old and new.”

“It’s mostly Judaica which is old, but I make it new and not heavy like silver. It doesn’t look serious,” says Yair.

One of the ways one recognizes an Emanuel work are the pomegranates. Why does he use it so often? “It’s a very nice fruit, we bless it on Rosh Hashanah [the Jewish New Year], and it has a very interesting shape, like a crown on top. I also like the color.”

In addition to the wood and embroidered items, Emanuel added a new style with colored metal in wine cups, trivets and hand-washing cups, in deep shades of burgundy, silver, gold, wine and deep blue. He describes is as sand cast aluminum.

Emanuel studied art at the Bezalel Art School when it was located behind the Central Bus Station, and he taught art in Mitzpe Ramon, a town 100 miles south of Jerusalem. Then he started to create art to sell—hand-made silk paintings, fabrics and embroidery.

Now he works in his studio/office, with the large glass picture window–part of the workshop, warehouse and showroom.

“Every week I make two to four new designs. I like what I am doing and I like to make new things.”

As the card that goes with each items says, “Emanuel’s designs of Judaic art are based on a fusion of traditional motifs and ancient Jewish manuscripts with modern and Oriental art.

One can visit his showroom, where items sell for 25% less than in town, and shipping is available, in the Talpiot neighborhood, in an alley off Yad Harutzim 6, at the end, through a blue painted door.

Open Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Phone 02 671-9471. Web site: www.emanuel-judaica.com