Annie’s angle: How you can express your Judaism with style

BY ANNIE COHEN Junior, Ladue Horton Watkins High School

What you wear reflects who you are. For teenagers in particular, fashion and accessories are a form of self expression.

Many fellow 16-year-old girls express themselves through jewelry inspired by Judaism, and not just a Star of David necklace. While those are still common, teen girls are finding increasingly inventive ways to convey their faith through accessories.

ADVERTISEMENT
Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

A friend, Ladue Horton Watkins High School junior Samara Oberman, has by far the most eclectic collection of Jewish-inspired jewelry I’ve ever seen. Included her collection is cartilage piercing of a hamsa,    

a hand-shaped  symbol of Judaism, as well as a ring adorned with her name written in Hebrew.

“It’s funny watching people try to read it,” Samara said of her ring. On a more serious note, she added that she enjoys wearing religious jewelry because “it reflects who I am and shows I’m proud to be Jewish.”

The jewelry is of special importance to Samara because she purchased the pieces in Israel. Samara has since created a tradition of buying a new piece of jewelry each time she visits Israel. After all, what could be a better souvenir than a beautiful necklace, or pair of earrings?

Of course, not every teen can go to Israel on a regular basis to buy jewelry. The Silver Lady, a jewelry store with locations in the Delmar Loop and the Central West End, has a wide selection for those who want Judaic-themed jewelry with style.

Many of necklaces and bracelets are adorned with the hamsa, which are also referred to as the “Hand of Miriam,” and found in both the Jewish and Islamic faiths as a good luck charm. Many Jewish people wear the hamsa as a more understated way of declaring their religion.

“All jewelry comes from a story,” Lori Shifter, owner of the Silver Lady, said. “The hamsa is a subtle way of saying you’re Jewish.”

The Silver Lady offers other options as well, including a small mezuzah that opens up to hold a written prayer. It’s designed to be worn as a necklace, and is another inventive way of infusing personal style with elements rooted in Judaism.

Even those who prefer the elegant simplicity of a traditional Star of David necklace have plenty of choices.

One eye-stopping piece in the store: a necklace with two random geometric shapes that join together to form a Star of David when positioned correctly around one’s neck.

“It’s so simple,” Shifter said. “Two shapes that hang to create a Star of David. Brilliant!”

During my quest to explore how Judaism meshes with style, I also discovered that some non-Jews wear jewelry with a Star of David. Many non-Jewish fashion-lovers admire the symbol’s aesthetic beauty, and aren’t bothered by its religious significance.

From Stars of David to the hamsa, there are a vast range of original ways to communicate your Jewish faith through accessories. Loud or subtle, conventional or innovative, the choices are endless. And for a Jewish girl obsessed with fashion, what more could you ask for?